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wartolg I 

No. VI. 





ton % fSwrnto German (Bbitww, 










THE clamour excited by the present work has not surprised 
me, and hence it has not in the least moved me from my 
position. On the contrary, I have once more, in all calmness, 
subjected my work to the severest scrutiny, both historical and 
philosophical; I have, as far as possible, freed it from its 
defects of form, and enriched it with new developments, illustra 
tions and historical testimonies, testimonies in the highest 
degree striking and irrefragable. Now that I have thus verified 
my analysis by historical proofs, it is to be hoped that readers 
whose eyes are not sealed will be convinced and will admit, even 
though reluctantly, that my work contains a faithful, correct 
translation of the Christian religion out of the oriental language 
.of imagery into plain speech. And it has no pretension to be 
anything more than a close translation, or, to speak literally, 
an empirical or historico-philosophical analysis, a solution of 
the enigma of the Christian religion. The general propositions 
which 1 premise in the Introduction are no a priori, excogi 
tated propositions, no products of speculation ; they have 
arisen out of the analysis of religion; they are only, as in 
deed are all the fundamental ideas of the work, generalizations 

* The opening paragraphs of this Preface are omitted, as having too 
specific a reference to transient German polemics to interest the English 


from the known manifestations of human nature, and in par 
ticular of the religious consciousness, facts converted into 
thoughts, i. e., expressed in general terms, and thus made the 
property of the understanding. The ideas of my work are only 
conclusions, consequences, drawn from premises which are not 
themselves mere ideas, hut objective facts either actual or 
historical facts which had not their place in my head simply 
in virtue of their ponderous existence in folio . I unconditionally 
repudiate absolute, immaterial, self-sufficing speculation, that 
speculation which draws its material from within. I differ toto 
ccelo from those philosophers who pluck out their eyes that 
they may see better; for my thought I require the senses, 
especially sight ; I found my ideas on materials which can be 
appropriated only through the activity of the senses. I do not 
generate the object from the thought, but the thought from the 
object; and I hold that alone to be an object which has an exist 
ence beyond one's own brain. I am an idealist only in the region 
of practical philosophy, that is, I do not regard the limits of 
the past and present as the limits of humanity, of the future ; 
on the contrary, I firmly believe that many things yes, many 
things which with the short-sighted, pusillanimous practical 
men of to-day, pass for flights of imagination, for ideas never 
to be realized, for mere chimeras, will to-morrow, i.e., in the 
next century, centuries in individual life are days in the life 
of humanity, exist in full reality. Briefly, the "Idea" is 
to me only faith in the historical future, in the triumph of 
truth and virtue ; it has for me only a political and moral sig 
nificance ; for in the sphere of strictly theoretical philosophy, 
I attach myself, in direct opposition to the Hegelian philosophy, 
only to realism, to materialism in the sense above indicated. 
The maxim hitherto adopted by speculative philosophy: all 
that is mine I carry with me, the old omnia mea mecum porto, 
I cannot, alas ! appropriate. I have many things outside my 
self, which I cannot convey either in my pocket or my head, 
but which nevertheless I look upon as belonging to me, not 
indeed as a mere man a view not now in question but as a 
philosopher. I am nothing but a natural philosopher in the 


domain of mind; and the natural philosopher can do nothing 
without instruments, without material means. In this character 
I have written the present work, which consequently contains 
nothing else than the principle of a new philosophy verified 
practically, i. e., in concreto, in application to a special object, but 
an object which has a universal significance: namely, to religion, 
in which this principle is exhibited, developed and thoroughly 
carried out. This philosophy is essentially distinguished from 
the systems hitherto prevalent, in that it corresponds to the real, 
complete nature of man; but for that very reason it is antagonistic 
to minds perverted and crippled by a superhuman, i. e., anti- 
human, anti-natural religion and speculation. It does not, as I 
have already said elsewhere, regard the pen as the only fit organ 
for the revelation of truth, but the eye and ear, the hand and foot ; 
it does not identify the idea of the fact with the fact itself, so as 
to reduce real existence to an existence on paper, but it separates 
the two, and precisely by this separation attains to the fact itself; 
it recognises as the true thing, not the thing as it is an object 
of the abstract reason, but as it is an object of the real, complete 
man, and hence as it is itself a real, complete thing. This 
philosophy does not rest on an Understanding per se, on an 
absolute, nameless understanding, belonging one knows not to 
whom, but on the understanding of man ; though not, I grant, 
on that of man enervated by speculation and dogma ; and it 
speaks the language of men, not an empty, unknown tongue. 
Yes, both in substance and in speech, it places philosophy in 
the negation of philosophy, i. e., it declares that alone to be the 
true philosophy which is converted in succwn et sanguinem, 
which is incarnate in Man ; and hence it finds its highest 
triumph in the fact that to all dull and pedantic minds, which 
place the essence of philosophy in the show of philosophy, it 
appears to be no philosophy at all. 

This philosophy has for its principle, not the Substance of 
Spinoza, not the ego of Kant and Fichte, not the Absolute 
Identity of Schelling, not the Absolute Mind of Hegel, in short, 
no abstract, merely conceptional being, but a real being, the 
true Ens rcalissimum man ; its principle, therefore, is in the 


highest degree positive and real. It generates thought from 
the opposite of thought, from Matter, from existence, from the 
senses ; it has relation to its ohject first through the senses, i. e., 
passively, hefore defining it in thought. Hence my work, as a 
specimen of this philosophy, so far from being a production to 
be placed in the category of Speculation, although in another 
point of view it is the true, the incarnate result of prior philo 
sophical systems, is the direct opposite of speculation, nay, 
puts an end to it by explaining it. Speculation makes religion 
say only what it has itself thought, and expressed far better 
than religion; it assigns a meaning to religion without any refer 
ence to the actual meaning of religion; it does not look beyond 
itself. I, on the contrary, let religion itself speak; I constitute 
myself only its listener and interpreter, not its prompter. Not to 
invent, but to discover, "to unveil existence," has been my sole 
object; to see correctly, my sole endeavour. It is not I, but re 
ligion that worships man, although religion, or rather theology, 
denies this ; it is not I, an insignificant individual, but religion it 
self that says: God is man, man is God; it is not I, but religion 
that denies the God who is not man, but only an ens rationis, 
since it makes God become man, and then constitutes this God, 
not distinguished from man, having a human form, human feel 
ings and human thoughts, the object of its worship and veneration. 
I have only found the key to the cipher of the Christian religion, 
only extricated its true meaning from the web of contradictions 
and delusions called theology ; but in doing so I have certainly 
committed a sacrilege. If therefore my work is negative, 
irreligious, atheistic, let it be remembered that atheism at 
least in the sense of this work is the secret of religion itself; 
that religion itself, not indeed on the surface, but fundamentally, 
not in intention or according to its own supposition, but in its 
heart, in its essence, believes in nothing else than the truth and 
divinity of human nature. Or let it be proved that the his 
torical as well as the rational arguments of my work are false; 
let them be refuted not, however, I entreat, by judicial 
denunciations, or theological jeremiads, by the trite phrases 
of speculation, or other pitiful expedients for which I have no 


name, but by reasons, and such reasons as I have not already 
thoroughly answered. 

Certainly, my work is negative, destructive; but, be it observed, 
only in relation to the inhuman, not to the human elements 
of religion. It is therefore divided into two parts, of which 
the first is, as to its main idea, positive, the second, including 
the appendix, not wholly but in the main, negative; in both, 
however, the same positions are proved, only in a different or 
rather opposite manner. The first exhibits religion in its essence, 
its truth, the second exhibits it in its contradictions; the first 
is development, the second polemic ; thus the one is, according 
to the nature of the case, calmer, the other more vehement. 
Development advances gently, contest impetuously; for de 
velopment is self- contented at every stage, contest only at the 
last blow. Development is deliberate, but contest resolute. 
Development is light, contest fire. Hence results a difference 
between the two parts even as to their form. Thus in the first 
part I show that the true sense of Theology is Anthropology, 
that there is no distinction between the predicates of the divine 
and human nature, and, consequently, no distinction between 
the divine and human subject: I say consequently, for wherever, 
as is especially the case in theology, the predicates are not acci 
dents, but express the essence of the subject, there is no distinc 
tion between subject and predicate, the one can be put in the 
place of the other ; on which point I refer the reader to the 
Analytics of Aristotle, or even merely to the Introduction of 
Porphyry. In the second part, on the other hand, I show that 
the distinction which is made, or rather supposed to be made, 
between the theological and anthropological predicates, resolves 
itself into an absurdity. Here is a striking example. In the 
first part I prove that the Son of God is in religion a real son, 
the son of God in the same sense in which man is the son of 
man, and I find therein the truth, the essence of religion, that 
it conceives and affirms a profoundly human relation as a divine 
relation ; on the other hand, in the second part I show that the 
Son of God not indeed in religion, but in theology, which is 
the reflection of religion upon itself, is not a son in the natural, 



human sense, but in an entirely different manner, contradictory 
to Nature and reason, and therefore absurd, and I find in this 
negation of human sense and the human understanding, the 
negation of religion. Accordingly the first part is the direct, 
the second the indirect proof, that theology is anthropology : 
hence the second part necessarily has reference to the first ; it 
has no independent significance ; its only aim is to show, that 
the sense in which religion is interpreted in the previous part 
of the work must be the true one, because the contrary is ab 
surd. In brief, in the first part I am chiefly concerned with 
religion, in the second with theology : I say chiefly, for it was 
impossible to exclude theology from the first part, or religion 
from the second. A mere glance will show that my investigation 
includes speculative theology or philosophy, and not, as has been 
here and there erroneously supposed, common theology only, a 
kind of trash from which I rather keep as clear as possible, 
(though, for the rest, I am sufficiently well acquainted with it,) 
confining myself always to the most essential, strict and neces 
sary definition of the object,* and hence to that definition which 
gives to an object the most general interest, and raises it above 
the sphere of theology. But it is with theology that I have to 
do, not with theologians ; for I can only undertake to charac 
terize what is primary, the original, not the copy, principles, 
not persons, species, not individuals, objects of history, not 
objects of the chronique scandaleuse. 

If my work contained only the second part, it would be per 
fectly just to accuse it of a negative tendency, to represent the 
proposition : Eeligion is nothing, is an absurdity, as its essen 
tial purport. But I by no means say (that were an easy task !) : 
God is nothing, the Trinity is nothing, the Word of God is 
nothing, &c. ; I only show that they are not that which the 
illusions of theology make them, not foreign, but native mys 
teries, the mysteries of human nature ; I show that religion 
takes the apparent, the superficial in Nature and humanity, for 

* For example, in considering the sacraments, I limit myself to two ; 
for, in the strictest sense (see Luther, t. xvii. p. 558), there are no more. 


the essential, and hence conceives their true essence as a sepa 
rate, special existence : that consequently, religion, in the 
definitions which it gives of God, e. g., of the Word of God, 
at least in those definitions which are not negative in the sense 
ahove alluded to, only defines or makes objective the true 
nature of the human word. The reproach that according to my 
book, religion is an absurdity, a nullity, a pure illusion, would 
be well-founded only if, according to it, that into which I re 
solve religion, which I prove to be its true object and substance, 
namely man, anthropology, were an absurdity, a nullity, a 
pure illusion. But so far from giving a trivial or even a sub 
ordinate significance to anthropology, a significance which is 
assigned to it only just so long as a theology stands above it 
and in opposition to it, I, on the contrary, while reducing 
theology to anthropology, exalt anthropology into theology, 
very much as Christianity, while lowering God into man, made 
man into God ; though, it is true, this human God was by a 
further process made a transcendental, imaginary God, remote 
from man. Hence it is obvious that I do not take the word 
anthropology in the sense of the Hegelian or of any other philo 
sophy, but in an infinitely higher and more general sense. 

Religion is the dream of the human mind. But even in 
dreams we do not find ourselves in emptiness or in heaven, but 
on earth, in the realm of reality ; we only see real things in the 
entrancing splendour of imagination and caprice, instead of in 
the simple daylight of reality and necessity. Hence I do 
nothing more to religion and to speculative philosophy and 
theology also than to open its eyes, or rather to turn its gaze 
from the internal towards the external, i.e., I change the object 
as it is in the imagination into the object as it is in reality. 

But certainly for the present age, which prefers the sign to 
the thing signified, the copy to the original, fancy to reality, 
the appearance to the essence, this change, inasmuch as it does 
away with illusion, is an absolute annihilation, or at least a 
reckless profanation ; for in these days illusion only is sacred, 
truth profane. Nay, sacredness is held to be enhanced in pro 
portion as truth decreases and illusion increases, so that the 


highest degree of illusion comes to be the highest degree of 
sacredness. Religion has disappeared, and for it has been sub 
stituted, even among Protestants, the appearance of religion 
the Church in order at least that " the faith" may be imparted 
to the ignorant and indiscriminating multitude; that faith 
being still the Christian, because the Christian churches stand 
now as they did a thousand years ago, and now, as formerly, 
the external signs of the faith are in vogue. That which has 
no longer any existence in faith (the faith of the modern world 
is only an ostensible faith, a faith which does not believe what 
it fancies that it believes, and is only an undecided, pusillani 
mous unbelief ) is still to pass current as opinion : that which 
is no longer sacred in itself and in truth, is still at least to seem 
sacred. Hence the simulated religious indignation of the pre 
sent age, the age of shows and illusion, concerning my analysis, 
especially of the Sacraments. But let it not be demanded of 
an author who proposes to himself as his goal not the favour 
of his contemporaries, but only the truth, the unveiled, naked 
truth, that he should have or feign respect towards an empty 
appearance, especially as the object which underlies this appear 
ance is in itself the culminating point of religion, i. e., the point 
at which the religious slides into the irreligious. Thus much in 
justification, not in excuse, of my analysis of the Sacraments. 
With regard to the true bearing of my analysis of the sacra 
ments, especially as presented in the concluding chapter, I only 
remark, that I therein illustrate by a palpable and visible ex 
ample the essential purport, the peculiar theme of my work, that 
I therein call upon the senses themselves to witness to the truth 
of my analysis and my ideas, and demonstrate ad oculos, ad tac- 
tum, ad gustum, what I have taught ad captum throughout the 
previous pages. As, namely, the water of Baptism, the wine and 
bread of the Lord's Supper, taken in their natural power and 
significance, are and effect infinitely more than in a superna- 
turalistic, illusory significance; so the object of religion in 
general, conceived in the sense of this work, i. e., the anthropo 
logical sense, is infinitely more productive and real, both in 
theory and practice, than when accepted in the sense of theo- 


logy. For as that which is or is supposed to be imparted in the 
water, hread, and wine, over and above these natural substances 
themselves, is something in the imagination only, but in truth, 
in reality, nothing; so also the object of religion in general, 
the Divine essence, in distinction from the essence of Nature 
and Humanity, that is to say, if its attributes, as understand 
ing, love, &c., are and signify something else than these attri 
butes as they belong to man and Nature, is only something in 
the imagination, but in truth and reality nothing. Therefore 
this is the moral of the fable we should not, as is the case 
in theology and speculative philosophy, make real beings and 
things into arbitrary signs, vehicles, symbols, or predicates of 
a distinct, transcendant, absolute, i. e., abstract being ; but we 
should accept and understand them in the significance which 
they have in themselves, which is identical with their qualities, 
with those conditions which make them what they are : thus 
only do we obtain the key to a real theory and practice. I, in 
fact, put in the place of the barren baptismal water, the bene 
ficent effect of real water. How "watery," how trivial! Yes, 
indeed, very trivial. But so Marriage, in its time, was a very 
trivial truth, which Luther, on the ground of his natural good 
sense, maintained in opposition to the seemingly holy illusion 
of celibacy. But while I thus view water as a real thing, I at 
the same time intend it as a vehicle, an image, an example, a 
symbol, of the "unholy" spirit of my work, just as the water 
of Baptism the object of my analysis is at once literal 
and symbolical water. It is the same with bread and wine. 
Malignity has hence drawn the conclusion that bathing, eating 
and drinking are the summa summarum, the positive result of 
my work. I make no other reply than this : if the whole of 
religion is contained in the Sacraments, and there are conse 
quently no other religious acts than those which are performed 
in Baptism and the Lord's Supper; then I grant that the entire 
purport and positive result of my work are bathing, eating and 
drinking, since this work is nothing but a faithful, rigid histo- 
rico-philosophical analysis of religion the revelation of reli 
gion to itself, the awakening of religion to self -consciousness. 


I say an historico -philosophical analysis, in distinction from 
a merely historical analysis of Christianity. The historical 
critic such a one, for example, as Daumer or Ghillany shows 
that the Lord's Supper is a rite lineally descended from the 
ancient Cultus of human sacrifice ; that once, instead of bread 
and wine, real human flesh and blood were partaken. I, on 
the contrary, take as the object of my analysis and reduction 
only the Christian significance of the rite, that view of it which 
is sanctioned in Christianity, and I proceed on the supposition 
that only that significance w r hich a dogma or institution has in 
Christianity (of course in ancient Christianity, not in modern), 
whether it may present itself in other religions or not, is also 
the true origin of that dogma or institution in so far as it is 
Christian. Again, the historical critic, as, for example, Lutz- 
elberger, shows that the narratives of the miracles of Christ 
resolve themselves into contradictions and absurdities, that 
they are later fabrications, and that consequently Christ was no 
miracle- worker nor, in general, that which he is represented to 
be in the Bible. I, on the other hand, do not inquire what the 
real, natural Christ was or may have been in distinction from 
what he has been made or has become in Supernaturalism ; on 
the contrary, I accept the Christ of religion, but I show that 
this superhuman being is nothing else than a product and reflex 
of the supernatural human mind. I do not ask whether this 
or that, or any miracle can happen or not ; I only show what 
miracle is, and I show it not a priori, but by examples of 
miracles, narrated in the Bible as real events ; in doing so, 
however, I answer or rather preclude the question as to the 
possibility or reality or necessity of miracle. Thus much con 
cerning the distinction between me and the historical critics 
who have attacked Christianity. As regards my relation to 
Strauss and Bruno Bauer, in company with whom I am con 
stantly named, I merely point out here that the distinction 
between our works is sufficiently indicated by the distinction 
between their objects, which is implied even in the title-page. 
Bauer takes for the object of his criticism the evangelical his 
tory, i.e., biblical Christianity, or rather biblical theology; 


Strauss, the System of Christian Doctrine and the Life of Jesus, 
(which may also be included under the title of Christian Doc 
trine,) i.e., dogmatic Christianity or rather dogmatic theology; 
I, Christianity in general, i. e., the Christian religion, and 
consequently, only Christian philosophy or theology. Hence I 
take my citations chiefly from men in whom Christianity was 
not merely a theory or a dogma, not merely theology, but re 
ligion. My principal theme is Christianity, is Religion, as it is 
the immediate object, the immediate nature, of man. Erudi 
tion and philosophy are to me only the means by which I bring 
to light the treasure hid in man. 

I must further mention that the circulation which my work 
has had amongst the public at large, was neither desired nor 
expected by me. It is true that I have always taken as the 
standard of the mode of teaching and writing, not the abstract, 
particular, professional philosopher, but universal man, that I 
have regarded man as the criterion of truth, and not this or 
that founder of a system, and have from the first placed the 
highest excellence of the philosopher in this, that he abstains, 
both as a man and as an author, from the ostentation of philo 
sophy, i. e., that he is a philosopher only in reality, not formally, 
that he is a quiet philosopher, not a loud and still less a brawling 
one. Hence, in all my works as well as in the present one, I 
have made the utmost clearness, simplicity and definiteness, a 
law to myself, so that they may be understood, at least in the 
main, by every cultivated and thinking man. But notwith 
standing this, my work can be appreciated and fully understood 
only by the scholar, that is to say, by the scholar who loves 
truth, who is capable of forming a judgment, who is above the 
notions and prejudices of the learned and unlearned vulgar ; for 
although a thoroughly independent production, it has yet its 
necessary logical basis in history. I very frequently refer to 
this or that historical phenomenon without expressly designating 
it, thinking this superfluous ; and such references can be under 
stood by the scholar alone. Thus, for example, in the very 
first chapter, where I develope the necessary consequences of 
the stand -point of Feeling,! allude to Jacobi and Schleiermacher ; 


in the second chapter I allude chiefly to Kantism, Scepticism, 
Theism, Materialism and Pantheism; in the chapter on the 
" Stand-point of Beligion," where I discuss the contradictions 
between the religious or theological and the physical or natural- 
philosophical view of Nature, I refer to philosophy in the age 
of orthodoxy, and especially to the philosophy of Descartes 
and Leibnitz, in which this contradiction presents itself in a 
peculiarly characteristic manner. The reader, therefore, who is 
unacquainted with the historical facts and ideas presupposed in 
my work, will fail to perceive on what my arguments and ideas 
hinge ; no wonder if my positions often appear to him baseless, 
however firm the footing on which they stand. It is true that 
the subject of my work is of universal human interest; more 
over, its fundamental ideas, though not in the form in which 
they are here expressed, or in which they could be expressed 
under existing circumstances, will one day become the common 
property of mankind : for nothing is opposed to them in the pre 
sent day but empty, powerless illusions and prejudices in contra 
diction with the true nature of man. But in considering this 
subject in the first instance, I was under the necessity of treating 
it as a matter of science, of philosophy ; and in rectifying the aber 
rations of Beligion, Theology, and Speculation, I was naturally 
obliged to use their expressions, and even to appear to speculate, 
or which is the same thing to turn theologian myself, while I 
nevertheless only analyse speculation, i. e., reduce theology to 
anthropology. My work, as I said before, contains, and ap 
plies in the concrete, the principle of a new philosophy suited 
not to the schools, but to man. Yes, it contains that principle, 
but only by evolving it out of the very core of religion ; hence, 
be it said in passing, the new philosophy can no longer, like 
the old Catholic and modern Protestant scholasticism, fall into 
the temptation to prove its agreement with religion by its 
agreement with Christian dogmas ; on the contrary, being 
evolved from the nature of religion, it has in itself the true 
essence of religion, is, in its very quality as a philosophy, a 
religion also. But a work which considers ideas in their genesis 
and explains and demonstrates them in strict sequence, is, by 


the very form which this purpose imposes upon it, unsuited to 
popular reading. 

Lastly, as a supplement to this work with regard to many 
apparently unvindicated positions, I refer to my articles in the 
Deutsches Jahrluch, January and February, 1842, to my cri 
tiques and Charakteristiken des modernen After-christenthums, 
in previous numbers of the same periodical, and to my earlier 
works, especially the following : P. Bayle. Ein Beitrag zur 
Geschichte der Philosophic und Menschheit, Ausbach, 1838, 
and Philosophic und Christenthum, Mannheim, 1839. In 
these works I have sketched, with a few sharp touches, the 
historical solution of Christianity, and have shown that Chris 
tianity has in fact long vanished, not only from the Keason but 
from the Life of mankind, that it is nothing more than a fixed 
idea, in flagrant contradiction with our Fire and Life Assurance 
companies, our rail-roads and steam-carriages, our picture and 
sculpture galleries, our military and industrial schools, our 
theatres and scientific museums. 

Bruckberg, Feb. 14, 1843. 




I. 1, The Essential Nature of Man 1 

I. 2. The Essence of Eeligion considered generally .... 12 


II. God as a Being of the Understanding 32 

III. God as a^Moral Being, or Law 43 

IV. The Mystery of the Incarnation; or, God as Love, as a Being 

of the Heart . , .. 49 

V. The Mystery of the Suffering God 58 

VI. TheMystery of the Trinity and the Mother of God. ... 64 

VII. The Mystery of the Logos and Divine Image 73 

VIII. The Mystery of the Cosmogonical Principle in God .... 79 

IX. The Mystery of Mysticism* or Nature in God 86 

X. The Mystery of Providence and Creation out of Nothing . . 100 

XI. The Significance of the Creation in Judaism Ill 

XII. The Omnipotence of Feeling, or the Mystery of Prayer 1 . . 119 

XIII. TheMystery of Faith the Mystery of Miracle 125 

XIV. The Mystery of the Eesurrection and of the Miraculous Con 
ception . 134 

XV. The Mystery of the Christian Christ, or the Personal God . 139 

XVI. The Distinction between Christianity and Heathenism . . 149 

XVII. The Significance of Voluntary Celibacy and Monachism . . 159 

XVIIL The Christian Heaven, or Personal Immortality .... 169 




XIX. The Essential Stand-point of Religion 184 

XX. The Contradiction in the Existence of God 196 

XXI. The Contradiction in the Revelation of God 203 

XXII. The Contradiction in the Nature of God in general .... 211 

XXIII. The Contradiction in the Speculative Doctrine of God . . .224 

XXIV. The Contradiction in the Trinity 230 

XXV. The Contradiction in the Sacraments 234 

XXVI. The Contradiction of Faith and Love 245 

XXVII. Concluding Application 267 



1. The Religious Emotions purely Human 275 

2. God is Feeling released from Limits 277 

3. God is the highest Feeling of Self 278 

4. Distinction between the Pantheistic and Personal God . . . 279 

5. Nature without interest for Christians 282 

6. In God Man is his own Object . .^ 284 

7. Christianity the Religion of Suffering ; 287 

8. Mystery of the Trinity . . . "7~~/ 288 

9. Creation out of Nothing 293 

10. Egoism of the Israelitish Religion 294 

11. The Idea of Providence 295 

12. Contradiction of Faith and Reason 300 

13. The Resurrection of Christ 304 

14. The Christian a Supermundane Being 304 

15. The Celibate and Monachism . 305 

16. The Christian Heaven 313 

17. What Faith denies on Earth it affirms in Heaven . . . . . 315 

18. Contradictions in the Sacraments ... 316 

19. Contradiction of Faith and Love 319 

20. Results of the Principle of Faith 325 

2J. Contradiction of the God-Man 332 

2. Anthropology the Mystery of Theology 337 





1 . The Essential Nature of Man. 

EELIGION has its "basis in the essential difference hetween man 
and the brute the hrutes have no religion. It is true that 
the old uncritical writers on natural history attributed to the 
elephant, among other laudable qualities, the virtue of religi 
ousness ; but the religion of elephants belongs to the realm of 
fable. Cuvier, one of the greatest authorities on the animal 
kingdom, assigns, on the strength of his personal observa 
tions, no higher grade of intelligence to the elephant than to 
the dog. 

But what is this essential difference between man and the 
brute ? The most simple, general, and also the most popular 
answer to this question is consciousness : but consciousness 
in the strict sense ; for the consciousness implied in the feeling 
of self as an individual, in discrimination by the senses, in 
the perception and even judgment of outward things accord 
ing to definite sensible signs, cannot be denied to the brutes. 
Consciousness in the strictest sense is present only in a being 
to whom his species, his essential nature, is an object of 
thought. The brute is indeed conscious of himself as an 
individual and he has accordingly the feeling of self as the 
common centre of successive sensations but not as a species : 
hence, he is without that consciousness which in its nature, as 
in its name, is akin to science. Where there is this higher 
consciousness there is a capability of science. Science is the 
cognizance of species. In practical life we have to do with 
individuals ; in science, with species. But only a being to 



whom his own species, his own nature, is an object of thought, 
can make the essential nature of other things or beings an 
object of thought. 

Hence the brute has only a simple, man a twofold life : in 
the brute, the inner life is one with the outer ; man has both an 
inner and an outer life. The inner life of man is the life which 
has relation to his species, to his general, as distinguished from 
his individual, nature. Man thinks that is, he converses with 
himself. The brute can exercise no function which has rela 
tion to its species without another individual external to 
itself; but man can perform the functions of thought and 
speech, which strictly imply such a relation, apart from another 
individual. Man is himself at once I and thou ; he can put 
himself in the place of another, for this reason, that to him his 
species, his essential nature, and not merely his individuality, 
is an object of thought. 

Religion being identical with the distinctive characteristic of 
man, is then identical with self-consciousness with the con 
sciousness which man has of his nature. But religion, ex 
pressed generally, is consciousness of the infinite ; thus it is 
and can be nothing else than the consciousness which man has 
of his own not finite and limited, but infinite nature. A 
really finite being has not even the faintest adumbration, still 
less consciousness, of an infinite being, for the limit of the 
nature is also the limit of the consciousness. The conscious 
ness of the caterpillar, whose life is confined to a particular 
species of plant, does not extend itself beyond this narrow 
domain. It does, indeed, discriminate between this plant and 
other plants, but more it knows not. A consciousness so 
limited, but on account of that very limitation so infallible, we do 
not call consciousness, but instinct. Consciousness, in the 
strict or proper sense, is identical with consciousness of the 
infinite; a limited consciousness is no consciousness; con 
sciousness is essentially infinite in its nature.* The conscious 
ness of the infinite is nothing else than the consciousness of 
the infinity of the consciousness ; or, in the consciousness of 

* Objectum intellectus esse illimitatum sive omne verum ac, ut 
loquimtur, omne ens ut ens, ex eo constat, quod ad nullum non ^ genus 
rerum extenditur, nullumque est, cujus cognoscendi capax non sit, licet ob 
varia obstacula multa sint, quse re ipsa non norit. Gassendi, (Opp. Omn. 


the infinite, the conscious subject has for his object the infinity 
of his own nature. 

What, then, is the nature of man, of which he is conscious, 
or what constitutes the specific distinction, the proper humanity 
of man ?* Reason, Will, Affection. To a complete man belong 
the power of thought, the power of will, the power of affection. 
The power of thought is the light of the intellect, the power of 
will is energy of character, the power of affection is love. 
Eeason, love, force of will, are perfections the perfections of 
the human being nay, more, they are absolute perfections of 
being. To will, to love, to think, are the highest powers, are 
the absolute nature of man as man, and the basis of his ex 
istence. Man exists to think, to love, to will. Now that 
which is the end, the ultimate aim, is also the true basis and 
principle of a being. But what is the end of reason ? Reason. 
Of love ? Love. Of will ? Freedom of the will. We think 
for the sake of thinking; love for the sake of loving; will for 
the sake of willing i.e., that we maybe free. True existence 
is thinking, loving, willing existence. That alone is true, per 
fect, divine, which exists for its own sake. But such is love, 
such is reason, such is will. The divine trinity in man, above 
the individual man, is the unity of reason, love, will. Reason, 
Will, Love, are not powers which man possesses, for he is 
nothing without them, he is what he is only by them ; they are 
the constituent elements of his nature, which he neither has 
nor makes, the animating, determining, governing powers 
divine, absolute powers to which he can oppose no resistance. f 

How can the feeling man resist feeling, the loving one love, 
the rational one reason ? Who has not experienced the over 
whelming power of melody ? And what else is the -power of 
melody but the power of feeling ? Music is the language of 
feeling ; melody is audible feeling feeling communicating 
itself. Who has not experienced the power of love, or at least 
heard of it ? Which is the stronger love or the individual 

* The obtuse materialist says : " Man is distinguished from the brute 
only by consciousness he is an animal with consciousness superadded ;" 
not reflecting, that in a being which awakes to consciousness, there takes 
place a qualitative change, a differentiation of the entire nature. For the 
rest, our words are by no means intended to depreciate the nature of the 
lower animals. This is not the place to enter further into that question. 

f " Toute opinion est assez forte pour se faire exposer au prix de la 
vie." Montaigne. 

B 2 


man ? Is it man that possesses love, or is it not much rather 
love that possesses man ? When love impels a man to suffer 
death even joyfully for the beloved one, is this death- conquer 
ing power his own individual power, or is it not rather the 
power of love ? And who that e?er truly thought has not 
experienced that quiet, subtle power the power of thought ? 
When thou sinkest into deep reflection, forgetting thyself and 
what is around thee, dost thou govern reason, or is it not 
reason which governs and absorbs thee? Scientific enthu 
siasm is it not the most glorious triumph of intellect over 
thee ? The desire of knowledge is it not a simply irresistible, 
and all-conquering power ? And when thou suppressest a 
passion, renouncest a habit, in short, achievest a victory over 
thyself, is this victorious power thy own personal power, or is 
it not rather the energy of will, the force of morality, which 
seizes the mastery of thee, and fills thee with indignation 
against thyself and thy individual weaknesses ? 

Man is nothing without an object. The great models of 
humanity, such men as reveal to us what man is capable of, 
have attested the truth of this proposition by their lives. They 
had only one dominant passion the realization of the aim 
which was the essential object of their activity. But the 
object to which a subject essentially, necessarily relates, is 
nothing else than this subject's own, but objective, nature. If 
it be an object common to several individuals of the same 
species, but under various conditions, it is still, at least as to 
the form under which it presents itself to each of them accord 
ing to their respective modifications, their own, but objective, 

Thus the Sun is the common object of the planets, but it is 
an object to Mercury, to Venus, to Saturn, to Uranus, under 
other conditions than to the Earth. Each planet has its own 
sun. The Sun which lights and warms Uranus has no physical 
(only an astronomical, scientific) existence for the earth; and 
not only does the Sun appear different, but it really is another 
sun on Uranus than on the Earth. The relation of the Sun 
to the Earth is therefore at the same time a relation of the 
Earth to itself, or to its own nature, for the measure of the 
size and of the intensity of light which the Sun possesses as 
the object of the Earth, is the measure of the distance, which 
determines the peculiar nature of the Earth. Hence each 
planet has in its sun the mirror of its own nature. 


In the object which he contemplates, therefore, man "becomes 
acquainted with himself; consciousness of the objective is the 
self- consciousness of man. We know the man by the object, 
by his conception of what is external to himself; in it his 
nature becomes evident; this object is his manifested nature, 
his true objective ego. And this is true not merely of spiritual, 
but also of sensuous objects. Even the objects which are 
the most remote from man, because they are objects to him, 
and to the extent to which they are so, are revelations of human 
nature. Even the moon, the sun, the stars, call to man Tv^Oi 
veavrov. That he sees them, and so sees them, is an evidence 
of his own nature. The animal is sensible only of the beam 
which immediately affects life ; while man perceives the ray, 
to him physically indifferent, of the remotest star. Man alone 
has purely intellectual, disinterested joys and passions; the 
eye of man alone keeps theoretic festivals. The eye which 
looks into the starry heavens, which gazes at that light, alike 
useless and harmless, having nothing in common with the 
earth and its necessities this eye sees in that light its own 
nature, its own origin. The eye is heavenly in its nature. 
Hence man elevates himself above the earth only with the eye ; 
hence theory begins with the contemplation of the heavens. 
The first philosophers were astronomers. It is the heavens 
that admonish man of his destination, and remind him that he 
is destined not merely to action, but also to contemplation. 

The absolute to man is his own nature. The power 
of the object over him is therefore the power of his own 
nature. Thus the power of the object of feeling is the power 
of feeling itself; the power of the object of the intellect is the 
power of the intellect itself; the power of the object of the will 
is the power of the will itself. The man who is affected by 
musical sounds, is governed by feeling; by the feeling, that is, 
which finds its corresponding element in musical sounds. But 
it is not melody as such, it is only melody pregnant with 
meaning and emotion, which has power over feeling. Feeling 
is only acted on by that which conveys feeling, i. e., by itself, 
its own nature. Thus also the will; thus, and infinitely more, 
the intellect. . Whatever kind of object, therefore, we are at 
any time conscious of, we are always at the same time conscious 
of our own nature; w r e can affirm nothing without affirming 
ourselves. And since to will, to feel, to think, are perfections, 
essences, realities, it is impossible that intellect, feeling, and 


will should feel or perceive themselves as limited, finite powers, 
i. e., as worthless, as nothing. For finiteness and nothingness 
are identical; finiteness is only a euphemism for nothingness. 
Finiteness is the metaphysical, the theoretical nothingness 
the pathological, practical expression. What is finite to the 
understanding is nothing to the heart. But it is impossible 
that we should he conscious of will, feeling, and intellect, as 
finite powers, because every perfect existence, every original 
power and essence, is the immediate verification and affirmation 
of itself. It is impossible to love, will, or think, without per 
ceiving these activities to be perfections impossible to feel 
that one is a loving, willing, thinking being, without expe 
riencing an infinite joy therein. Consciousness consists in a 
being becoming objective to itself; hence it is nothing apart, 
nothing distinct from the being which is conscious of itself. 
How could it otherwise become conscious of itself? It is 
therefore impossible to be conscious of a perfection as an 
imperfection, impossible t feel feeling limited, to think thought 

Consciousness is self- verification, self-affirmation, self-love, 
joy in one's own perfection. Consciousness is the charac 
teristic mark of a perfect nature ; it exists only in a self-suf 
ficing, complete being. Even human vanity attests this truth. 
A man looks in the glass ; he has complacency in his appear 
ance. This complacency is a necessary, involuntary conse 
quence of the completeness, the beauty of his form. A beau 
tiful form is satisfied in itself; it has necessarily joy in itself 
in self-contemplation. This complacency becomes vanity 
only when a man piques himself on his form as being his 
individual form, not when he admires it as a specimen of 
human beauty in general. It is fitting that he should admire 
it thus ; he can conceive no form more beautiful, more sublime 
than the human.* Assuredly every being loves itself, its exist 
ence and fitly so. To exist is a good. Quidquid essentia 
dignum est, scientia dignum est. Everything that exists has 
value, is a being of distinction at least this is true of the 

* Homini homine nihil pulchrius. (Cic. de Nat. D. 1. i ) And this is 
no sign of limitation, for he regards other beings as beautiful besides him 
self; he delights in the beautiful forms of animals, in the beautiful forms 
of plants, in the beauty of nature in general. But only the absolute, the 
perfect form, can delight without envy in the forms of other beings. 


species: hence it asserts, maintains itself. But the highest 
form of self-assertion, the form which is itself a superiority, a 
perfection, a hliss, a good, is consciousness. 

Every limitation of the reason, or in general of the nature 
of man, rests on a delusion, an error. It is true that the 
human being, as an individual, can and must herein consists 
his distinction from the brute feel and recognise himself to 
be limited ; but he can become conscious of his limits, his 
finiteness, only because the perfection, the infinitude of his 
species is perceived by him, whether as an object of feeling, 
of conscience, or of the thinking consciousness. If he makes 
his own limitations the limitations of the species, this arises 
from the mistake that he identifies himself immediately with 
the species a mistake which is intimately connected with the 
individual's love of ease, sloth, vanity, and egoism. For a 
limitation which I know to be merely mine humiliates, 
shames, and perturbs me. Hence to free myself from this 
feeling of shame, from this state of dissatisfaction, I convert 
the limits of my individuality into the limits of human nature 
in general. What is incomprehensible to me is incomprehen 
sible to others ; why should I trouble myself further ? it is no 
fault of mine ; my understanding is not to blame, but the under 
standing of the race. But it is a ludicrous and even culpable 
error to define as finite and limited what constitutes the essence 
of man, the nature of the species, which is the absolute nature 
of the individual. Every being is sufficient to itself. No 
being can deny itself, i.e., its own nature ; no being is a 
limited one to itself. Rather, every being is in and by itself 
infinite has its God, its highest conceivable being, in itself. 
Every limit of a being is cognisable only by another being out 
of and above him. The life of the ephemera is extraordinarily 
short in comparison with that of longer lived creatures; but 
nevertheless, for the ephemera this short life is as long as a 
life of years to others. The leaf on which the caterpillar lives 
is for it a world, an infinite space. 

That which makes a being what it is is its talent, its power, 
its wealth, its adornment. How can it possibly hold its existence 
non-existence, its wealth poverty, its talent incapacity? If the 
plants had eyes, taste and judgment, each plant would declare 
its own flower the most beautiful; for its comprehension, its taste, 
would reach no farther than its natural power of production. 
What the productive power of its nature has brought forth 


as the highest, that must also its taste, its judgment, recognise 
and affirm as the highest. What the nature affirms, the under 
standing, the taste, the judgment, cannot deny ; otherwise 
the understanding, the judgment, would no longer he the un 
derstanding and judgment of this particular being, hut of some 
other. The measure of the nature is also the measure of the 
understanding. If the nature is limited, so also is the feel 
ing, so also is the understanding. But to a limited heing its 
limited understanding is not felt to he a limitation ; on the 
contrary, it is perfectly happy and contented with this under 
standing ; it regards it, praises and values it, as a glorious, 
divine power ; and the limited understanding, on its part, values 
the limited nature whose understanding it is. Each is exactly 
adapted to the other ; how should they he at issue with each 
other ? A being's understanding is its sphere of vision. As 
far as thou seest, so far extends thy nature ; and conversely. 
The eye of the brute reaches no farther than its needs, and its 
nature no farther than its needs. And so far as thy nature 
reaches, so far reaches thy unlimited self-consciousness, so far 
art thou God. The discrepancy between the understanding and 
the nature, between the power of conception and the power of 
production in the human consciousness, on the one hand is 
merely of individual significance and has not a universal appli 
cation ; and, on the other hand, it is only apparent. He who 
having written a bad poem knows it to be bad, is in his intel 
ligence, and therefore in his nature, not so limited as he who, 
having written a bad poem, admires it and thinks it good. 

It follows, that if thou thinkest the infinite, thou perceivest 
and affirmest the infinitude of the power of thought ; if thou 
feelest the infinite, thou feelest and affirmest the infinitude of 
the power of feeling. The object of the intellect is intellect 
objective to itself; the object of feeling is feeling objective to 
itself. If thou hast no sensibility, no feeling for music, thou 
perceivest in the finest music nothing more than in the wind 
that whistles by thy ear, or than in the brook which rushes 
past thy feet. What then is it which acts on thee when thou 
art affected by melody? What dost thou perceive in it? What 
else than the voice of thy own heart ? Feeling speaks only to 
feeling ; feeling is comprehensible only by feeling, that is, by 
itself for this reason, that the object of feeling is nothing else 
than feeling. Music is a monologue of emotion. But the 
dialogue of philosophy also is in truth only a monologue of 


the intellect; thought speaks only to thought. The splendours 
of the crystal charm the sense ; but the intellect is interested 
only in the laws of crystallization. The intellectual only is the 
object of the intellect.* 

All therefore which, in the point of view of metaphysical, 
transcendental speculation and religion, has the significance 
only of the secondary, the subjective, the medium, the organ, 
has in truth the significance of the primary, of the essence, of 
the object itself. If, for example, feeling is the essential organ 
of religion, the nature of God is nothing else than an expression 
of the nature of feeling. The true but latent sense of the 
phrase, " Feeling is the organ of the divine," is, feeling is 
the noblest, the most excellent, i.e., the divine, in man. How 
couldst thou perceive the divine by feeling, if feeling were not 
itself divine in its nature ? The divine assuredly is known only 
by means of the divine God is known only by himself. The 
divine nature which is discerned by feeling, is in truth nothing 
else than feeling enraptured, in ecstasy with itself feeling 
intoxicated with joy, blissful in its own plenitude. 

It is already clear from this that where feeling is held to be 
the organ of the infinite, the subjective essence of religion, 
the external data of religion lose their objective value. And 
thus, since feeling has been held the cardinal principle in 
religion, the doctrines of Christianity, formerly so sacred, have 
lost their importance. If from this point of view some value is 
still conceded to Christian ideas, it is a value springing 
entirely from the relation they bear to feeling; if another 
object would excite the same emotions, it would be just as 
welcome. But the object of religious feeling is become a 
matter of indifference, only because when once feeling has 
been pronounced to be the subjective essence of religion, it in 
fact is also the objective essence of religion, though it may not 
be declared, at least directly, to be such. I say directly; for 
indirectly this is certainly admitted, when it is declared that 
feeling, as such, is religious, and thus the distinction between 
specifically religious and irreligious, or at least non-reli 
gious, feelings, is abolished, a necessary consequence of the 
point of view in which feeling only is regarded as the organ of 
the divine. For on what other ground than that of its essence, 

* " The understanding is percipient only of understanding, and what 
proceeds thence." Reimarus (Wahrh. der Natiirl. Religion, iv. Abth. 8.) 

B 3 


its nature, dost them hold feeling to be the organ of the infi 
nite, the divine heing ? And is not the nature of feeling in 
general, also the nature of every special feeling, he its object 
what it may? What, then, makes this feeling religious? A 
given object? Not at all; for this object is itself a religious 
one only when it is not an object of the cold understanding 
or memory, but of feeling. What then ? The nature of 
feeling a nature of which every special feeling, without dis 
tinction of objects, partakes. Thus, feeling is pronounced to 
be religious, simply because it is feeling ; the ground of its 
religiousness is its own nature lies in itself. But is not 
feeling thereby declared to be itself the absolute, the divine ? 
If feeling in itself is good, religious, i.e., holy, divine, has not 
feeling its God in itself? 

But if, notwithstanding, thou wilt posit an object of feel 
ing, but at the same time seekest to express thy feeling truly, 
without introducing by thy reflection any foreign element, 
what remains to thee but to distinguish between thy individual 
feeling and the general nature of feeling; to separate the 
universal in feeling from the disturbing, adulterating influ 
ences with which feeling is bound up in thee, under thy indi 
vidual conditions ? Hence what thou canst alone contem 
plate, declare to be the infinite, and define as its essence, is 
merely the nature of feeling. Thou hast thus no other defi 
nition of God than this ; God is pure, unlimited, free Feeling. 
Every other God, whom thou supposest, is a God thrust 
upon thy feeling from without. Feeling is atheistic in the 
sense of the orthodox belief, which attaches religion to 
an external object ; it denies an objective God it is itself 
God. In this point of view, only the negation of feeling is 
the negation of God. Thou art simply too cowardly or too narrow 
to confess in words what thy feeling tacitly affirms. Fettered 
by outward considerations, still in bondage to vulgar empiricism, 
incapable of comprehending the spiritual grandeur of feeling, 
thou art terrified before the religious atheism of thy heart. By 
this fear thou destroyest the unity of thy feeling with itself, 
in imagining to thyself an objective being distinct from thy 
feeling, and thus necessarily sinking back into the old questions 
and doubts is there a God or not? questions and doubts which 
vanish, nay, are impossible, where feeling is defined as the 
essence of religion. Feeling is thy own inward power, but 
at the same time a power distinct from thee, and independent 


of thee ; it is in thee, above thee : it is itself that which con 
stitutes the objective in thee thy own being which impresses 
thee as another being ; in short, thy God. How wilt thou then 
distinguish from this objective being within thee another objec 
tive being? how wilt thou get beyond thy feeling? 

But feeling has here been adduced only as an example. It is 
the same with every other power, faculty, potentiality, reality, 
activity the name is indifferent which is denned as the 
essential organ of any object. Whatever is a subjective 
expression of a nature is simultaneously also its objective 
expression. Man cannot get beyond his true nature. He 
may indeed by means of the imagination conceive individuals 
of another so-called higher kind, but he can never get loose 
from his species, his nature; the conditions of being, the 
positive final predicates which he gives to these other indivi 
duals, are always determinations or qualities drawn from 
his own nature qualities in which he in truth only images 
and projects himself. There may certainly be thinking beings 
besides men on the other planets of our solar system. But by 
the supposition of such beings we do not change our standing 
point we extend our conceptions quantitatively, not qualita 
tively. For as surely as on the other planets there are the same 
laws of motion, so surely are there the same laws of percep 
tion and thought as here. In fact, we people the other planets, 
not that we may place there different beings from ourselves, 
but more beings of our own or of a similar nature.* 

* Verisimile est, noil minus quam geometrise, etiam musicae oblecta- 
tionem ad plures quam ad nos pertinere. Positis enim aliis terris atque 
animalibus ratione et auditu pollentibus, cur tantum his nostris conti- 
gisset ea voluptas, quse sola ex sono percipi potest ? Christ. Hugenius, 
(Cosmotheor, 1, i.) 


2. The Essence of Religion considered generally. 

WHAT we have hitherto been maintaining generally, even 
with regard to sensational impressions, of the relation between 
subject and object, applies especially to the relation between 
the subject and the religious object. 

In the perceptions of the senses consciousness of the object 
is distinguishable from consciousness of self; but in religion, 
consciousness of the object and self-consciousness coincide. 
The object of the senses is out of man, the religious object is 
within him, and therefore as little forsakes him as his self- 
consciousness or his conscience; it is the intimate, the closest 
object. "God," says Augustine, for example, "is nearer, 
more related to us, and therefore more easily known by us, 
than sensible, corporeal things."* The object of the senses is 
in itself indifferent independent of the disposition or of the 
judgment; but the object of religion is a selected object; the 
most excellent, the first, the supreme being ; it essentially pre 
supposes a critical judgment, a discrimination between the 
divine and the non-divine, between that which is worthy of 
adoration and that which is not worthy. f And here may be 
applied, without any limitation, the proposition: the object of 
any subject is nothing else than the subject's own nature 
taken objectively. Such as are a man's thoughts and disposi 
tions, such is his God; so much worth as a man has, so much 
and no more has his God. Consciousness of God is self- 
consciousness, knowledge of God is self-knowledge. By his 
God thou knowest the man, and by the man his God; the two 
are identical. Whatever is God to a man, that is his heart 
and soul; and conversely, God is the manifested inwa/d 
nature, the expressed self of a man, religion the solemn un 
veiling of a man's hidden treasures, the revelation of his inti 
mate thoughts, the open confession of his love- secrets. 

* De Genesi ad litteram, 1. v. c. 16. 

f Unusquisque vestrum non cogitat, prius se debere Deum nosse, 
quam colere. M. Minucii Felicis Octavianus, c. 24. 


But when religion consciousness of God is designated as 
the self- consciousness of man, this is not to be understood as 
affirming that the religious man is directly aware of this 
identity ; for, on the contrary, ignorance of it is fundamental 
to the peculiar nature of religion. To preclude this miscon 
ception, it is better to say, religion is man's earliest and also 
indirect form of self-knowledge. Hence, religion everywhere 
precedes philosophy, as in the history of the race, so also in 
that of the individual. Man first of all sees his nature as if 
out of himself, before he finds it in himself. His own nature 
is in the first instance contemplated by him as that of another 
being. Keligion is the childlike condition of humanity; but 
the child sees his nature man out of himself; in childhood 
a man is an object to himself, under the form of another man. 
Hence the historical progress of religion consists in this : 
that what by an earlier religion was regarded as objective, is 
now recognised as subjective ; that is, what was formerly con 
templated and worshipped as God is now perceived to be 
something human. What was at first religion becomes at a 
later period idolatry; man is seen to have adored his own 
nature. Man has given objectivity to himself, but has not 
recognised the object as his own nature : a later religion takes 
this forward step; every advance in religion is therefore a 
deeper self-knowledge. But every particular religion, while 
it pronounces its predecessors idolatrous, excepts itself and 
necessarily so, otherwise it would no longer be religion from 
the fate, the common nature of all religions : it imputes only 
to other religions what is the fault, if fault it be, of religion in 
general. Because it has a different object, a different tenour, 
because it has transcended the ideas of preceding religions, it 
erroneously supposes itself exalted above the necessary eternal 
laws which constitute the essence of religion it fancies its 
object, its ideas, to be superhuman. But the essence of reli 
gion, thus hidden from the religious, is evident to the thinker, 
by whom religion is viewed objectively, which it cannot be by 
its votaries. And it is our task to show that the antithesis of 
divine and human is altogether illusory, that it is nothing 
else than the antithesis between the human nature in general, 
and the human individual: that, consequently, the object and 
contents of the Christian religion are altogether human. 
Eeligion, at least the Christian, is the relation of man to 


liimself, or more correctly to his own nature (i.e., his sub 
jective nature) ;* hut a relation to it, viewed as a nature apart 
from his own. The divine being is nothing else than the 
human being, or, rather the human nature purified, freed from 
the limits of the individual man, made objective i.e., contem 
plated and revered as another, a distinct being. All the 
attributes of the divine nature are, therefore, attributes of the 
human nature. f 

In relation to the attributes, the predicates, of the Divine 
Being, this is admitted without hesitation, but by no means in 
relation to the subject of these predicates. The negation of 
the subject is held to be irreligion, nay, atheism; though not 
so the negation of the predicates. But that which has no 
predicates or qualities, has no effect upon me ; that which has 
no effect upon me, has no existence for me. To deny all the 
qualities of a being is equivalent to denying the being himself. 
A being without qualities is one which cannot become an object 
to the mind ; and such a being is virtually non-existent. 
Where man deprives God of all qualities, God is no longer 
anything more to him than a negative being. To the truly 
religious man, God is not a being without qualities, because 
to him he is a positive, real being. The theory that God 
cannot be denned, and consequently cannot be known by man, 
is therefore the offspring of recent times, a product of modern 

As reason is and can be pronounced finite only where man 
regards sensual enjoyment, or religious emotion, or aesthetic 
contemplation, or moral sentiment, as the absolute, the true; so 
the proposition that God is unknowable or (indefinable can 
only be enunciated and become fixed as a dogma, where this 
object has no longer any interest for the intellect ; where the 
real, the positive, alone has any hold on man, where the real 

* The meaning of this parenthetic limitation will be clear in the 

j" Les perfections de Dieu sont celles de nos ames, mais il les possede 
sans bornes il y a en nous quelque puissance, quelque connaissance, 
quelque bonte, mais elles sont toutes entieres en Dieu. Leibnitz, (Theod. 
Preface.) Nihil in anima esse putemus eximium, quod non etiam divinae 
naturae proprium sit Quidquid a Deo alienum extra definitionem animse. 
S. Gregorius Nyss. Est ergo, ut videtur, disciplinarum omnium pulcher- 
rima et maxima se ipsum nosse ; si quis enim se ipsum norit, Deum cog- 
noscet. Clemens Alex. (Psed. 1, iii. c. 1.) 


alone has for him the significance of the essential, of the 
absolute, divine object, but where at the same time, in contra 
diction with this purely worldly tendency, there yet exist some 
old remains of religiousness. On the ground that God is 
unknowable, man excuses himself to what is yet remaining of 
his religious conscience for his forgetfulness of God, his 
absorption in the world : he denies God practically by his 
conduct, the world has possession of all his thoughts and 
inclinations, but he does not deny him theoretically, he does 
not attack his existence ; he lets that rest. But this existence 
does not affect or incommode him ; it is a merely negative 
existence, an existence without existence, a self-contradictory 
existence, a state of being, which, as to its effects, is not 
distinguishable from non-being. The denial of determinate, 
positive predicates concerning the divine nature, is nothing 
else than a denial of religion, with, however, an appearance of 
religion in its favour, so that it is not recognised as a denial ; 
it is simply a subtle, disguised atheism. The alleged religious 
horror of limiting God by positive predicates, is only the 
irreligious wish to know nothing more of God, to banish God 
from the mind. Dread of limitation is dread of existence. 
All real existence, i.e., all existence which is truly such, 
is qualitative, determinate existence. He who earnestly be 
lieves in the Divine existence, is not shocked at the attribut 
ing even of gross sensuous qualities to God. He who dreads 
an existence that may give offence, who shrinks from the 
grossness of a positive predicate, may as well renounce exis 
tence altogether. A God who is injured by determinate quali 
ties has not the courage and the strength to exist. Qualities 
are the fire, the vital breath, the oxygen, the salt of existence. 
An existence in general, an existence without qualities, is an 
insipidity, an absurdity. But there can be no more in God, 
than is supplied by religion. Only where man loses his taste 
for religion, and thus religion itself becomes insipid, does the 
existence of God become an insipid existence an existence 
without qualities. 

There is, however, a still milder way of denying the Divine 
predicates than the direct one just described. It is admitted 
that the predicates of the divine nature are finite, and, more 
particularly, human qualities, but their rejection is rejected; 
they are even taken under protection, because it is necessary 
to man to have a definite conception of God, and since he is 


man, he can form no other than a human conception of him. 
In relation to God, it is said, these predicates are certainly 
without any objective validity ; but to me, if he is to exist 
for me, he cannot appear otherwise than as he does appear to 
me, namely, as a being with attributes analogous to the 
human. But this distinction between what God is in himself, 
and what he is for me, destroys the peace of religion, and is 
besides in itself an unfounded and untenable distinction. 
I cannot know whether God is something else in himself or 
for himself, than he is for me ; what he is to me, is to me all 
that he is. For me, there lies in these predicates under w T hich 
he exists for me, what he is in himself, his very nature ; he 
is for me what he can alone ever be for me. The religious 
man finds perfect satisfaction in that which God is in relation 
to himself; of any other relation he knows nothing, for God 
is to him what he can alone be to man. In the distinction 
above stated, man takes a point of view above himself, i.e. 
above his nature, the absolute measure of his being ; but this 
transcendentalism is only an illusion ; for I can make the 
distinction between the object as it is in itself, and the object 
as it is for me, only where an object can really appear other 
wise to me, not where it appears to me such as the absolute 
measure of my nature determines it to appear such as it 
must appear to me. It is true that I may have a merely 
subjective conception, i.e. one which does not arise out of 
the general constitution of my species; but if my conception 
is determined by the constitution of my species, the distinction 
between what an object is in itself, and what it is for me 
ceases; for this conception is itself an absolute one. The 
measure of the species is the absolute measure, law, and 
criterion of man. And, indeed, religion has the conviction 
that its conceptions, its predicates of God, are such as every 
man ought to have, and must have, if he would have the true 
ones that they are the conceptions necessary to human 
nature ; nay, further, that they are objectively true, repre 
senting God as he is. To every religion the gods of other 
religions are only notions concerning God, but its own con 
ception of God is to it God himself, the true God God such 
as he is in himself. Religion is satisfied only with a complete 
Deity, a God without reservation ; it will not have a mere 
phantasm of God ; it demands God himself. Religion gives 
up its own existence when it gives up the nature of God; 


it is no longer a truth, when it renounces the possession of 
the true God. Scepticism is the arch-enemy of religion; 
but the distinction between object and conception between 
God as he is in himself, and God as he is for me, is a 
sceptical distinction, and therefore an irreligious one. 

That which is to man the self- existent, the highest being, 
to which he can conceive nothing higher that is to him the 
Divine being. How then should he inquire concerning this 
being, what He is in himself? If God were an object to the 
bird, he would be a winged being : the bird knows nothing 
higher, nothing more blissful, than the winged condition. 
How ludicrous would it be if this bird pronounced : to me God 
appears as a bird, but what he is in himself I know not. To 
the bird the highest nature is the bird-nature ; take from him 
the conception of this, and you take from him the conception 
of the highest being. How, then, could he ask whether God 
in himself were winged ? To ask whether God is in himself 
what he is for me, is to ask whether God is God, is to lift 
oneself above one's God, to rise up against him. 

Wherever, therefore, this idea, that the religious predicates 
are only anthropomorphisms, has taken possession of a man, 
there has doubt, has unbelief obtained the mastery of faith. 
And it is only the inconsequence of faint-heartedness and 
intellectual imbecility which does not proceed from this idea 
to the formal negation of the predicates, and from thence to 
the negation of the subject to which they relate. If thou 
doubtest the objective truth of the predicates, thou must also 
doubt the objective truth of the subject whose predicates they 
are. If thy predicates are anthropomorphisms, the subject of 
of them is an anthropomorphism too. If love, goodness, per 
sonality, &c., are human attributes, so also is the subject 
which thou pre-supposest, the existence of God, the belief 
that there is a God, an anthropomorphism a pre-supposition 
purely human. Whence knowest thou that the belief in a God 
at all is not a limitation of man's mode of conception ? Higher 
beings and thou supposest such are perhaps so blest in 
themselves, so at unity with themselves, that they are not 
hi ino- in suspense between themselves and a yet higher being. 
To know God and not oneself to be God, to know blessed 
ness, and not oneself to enjoy it, is a state of disunity, of 
unhappiness. Higher beings know nothing of this unhappi- 
ness ; they have no conception of that which they are not. 


Thou believest in love as a divine attribute because thou 
thyself lovest; thou believest that God is a wise, benevolent 
being, because thou knowest nothing better in thyself than 
benevolence and wisdom ; and thou believest that God exists, 
that therefore he is a subject whatever exists is a subject, 
whether it be denned as substance, person, essence, or other 
wise because thou thyself existest, art thyself a subject. Thou 
knowest no higher human good, than to love, than to be good 
and wise ; and even so thou knowest no higher happiness than 
to exist, to be a subject; for the consciousness of all reality, 
of all bliss, is for thee bound up in the consciousness of being 
a subject, of existing. God is an existence, a subject to thee, 
for the same reason that he is to thee a wise, a blessed, a per 
sonal being. The distinction between the divine predicates 
and the divine subject is only this, that to thee the subject, 
the existence, does not appear an anthropomorphism, because 
the conception of it is necessarily involved in thy own exist 
ence as a subject, whereas the predicates do appear anthropo 
morphisms, because their necessity the necessity that God 
should be conscious, wise, good, &c. is not an immediate 
necessity, identical with the being of man, but is evolved by 
his self- consciousness, by the activity of his thought. I am a 
subject, I exist, whether I be wise or unwise, good .or bad. To 
exist is to man the first datum; it constitutes the very idea 
of the subject; it is presupposed by the predicates. Hence, man 
relinquishes the predicates, but the existence of God is to him 
a settled, irrefragable, absolutely certain, objective truth. But, 
nevertheless, this distinction is merely an apparent one. The 
necessity of the subject lies only in the necessity of the predi 
cate. Thou art a subject only in so far as thou art a human 
subject; the certainty and reality of thy existence lie only in 
the certainty and reality of thy human attributes. What the 
subject is, lies only in the predicate; the predicate is the truth 
of the subject the subject only the personified, existing predi 
cate, the predicate conceived as existing. Subject and predi 
cate are distinguished only as existence and essence. The 
negation of the predicates is therefore the negation of the sub 
ject. What remains of the human subject when abstracted 
from the human attributes ? Even in the language of common 
life the divine predicates Providence, Omniscience, Omni 
potence are put for the divine subject. 

The certainty of the existence of God, of which it has been 
said that it is as certain, nay, more certain to man than his 


own existence, depends only on the certainty of the qualities 
of God it is in itself no immediate certainty. To the Chris 
tian the existence of the Christian God only is a certainty ; to 
the heathen that of the heathen God only. The heathen did 
not doubt the existence of Jupiter, because he took no offence 
at the nature of Jupiter, because he could conceive of God 
under no other qualities, because to him these qualities were a 
certainty, a divine reality. The reality of the predicate is the 
sole guarantee of existence. 

Whatever man conceives to be true, he immediately conceives 
to be real (that is, to have an objective existence), because, 
originally, only the real is true to him true in opposition to 
what is merely conceived, dreamed, imagined. The idea of 
being, of existence, is the original idea of truth; or, originally, 
man makes truth dependent on existence, subsequently, exist- 
tence dependent on truth. Now God is the nature of man 
regarded as absolute truth, the truth of man; but God, or, 
what is the same thing, religion, is as various as are the con 
ditions under which man conceives this his nature, regards it 
as the highest being. These conditions, then, under which 
man conceives God, are to him the truth, and for that 
reason they are also the highest existence, or rather they are 
existence itself; for only the emphatic, the highest existence, 
is existence, and deserves this name. Therefore, God is an 
existent, real being, on the very same ground that he is a 
particular, definite being; for the qualities of God are nothing 
else than the essential qualities of man himself, and a 
particular man is what he is, has his existence, his reality, 
only in his particular conditions. Take away from the Greek 
the quality of being Greek, and you take away his existence. 
On this ground, it is true that for a definite positive 
religion that is, relatively the certainty of the existence of 
God is immediate; for just as involuntarily, as necessarily, 
as the Greek was a Greek, so necessarily were his gods 
Greek beings, so necessarily were they real, existent beings. 
Religion is that conception of the nature of the world and 
of man which is essential to, i. e., identical with, a man's 
nature. But man does not stand above this his necessary 
conception; on the contrary, it stands above him; it animates, 
determines, governs him. The necessity of a proof, of a 
middle term -to unite qualities with existence, the possibility 
of a doubt, is abolished. Only that which is apart from 
my own being is capable of being doubted by me. How then 


can I doubt of God, who is my being ? To doubt of God is 
to doubt of myself. Only when God is thought of abstractly, 
w r hen his predicates are the result of philosophic abstraction, 
arises the distinction or separation between subject and predi 
cate, existence and nature arises the fiction that the existence 
or the subject is something else than the predicate, something 
immediate, indubitable, in distinction from the predicate, which 
is held to be doubtful. But this is only a fiction. A God who has 
abstract predicates has also an abstract existence. Existence, 
being, varies with varying qualities. 

The identity of the subject and predicate is clearly evidenced 
by the progressive development of religion, which is identical 
with the progressive development of human culture. So long 
as man is in a mere state of nature, so long is his god a mere 
nature-god a personification of some natural force. Where 
man inhabits houses, he also encloses his gods in temples. 
The temple is only a manifestation of the value which man 
attaches to beautiful buildings. Temples in honour of reli 
gion are in truth temples in honour of architecture. With 
the emerging of man from a state of savagery and wildness to 
one of culture, with the distinction between what is fitting for 
man and what is not fitting, arises simultaneously the dis 
tinction between that which is fitting and that which is not 
fitting for God. God is the idea of majesty, of the highest 
dignity : the religious sentiment is the sentiment of supreme 
fitness. The later more cultured artists of Greece were the 
first to embody in the statues of the gods the ideas of dignity, 
of spiritual grandeur, of imperturbable repose and serenity. 
But why were these qualities in their view attributes, predicates 
of God ? Because they were in themselves regarded by the 
Greeks as divinities. Why did those artists exclude all disgust 
ing and low passions ? Because they perceived them to be un 
becoming, unworthy, unhuman, and consequently ungodlike. 
The Homeric gods eat and drink; that implies: eating and 
drinking is a divine pleasure. Physical strength is an attri 
bute of the Homeric gods : Zeus is the strongest of the gods. 
Why ? Because physical strength, in and by itself, was regarded 
as something glorious, divine. To the ancient Germans the 
highest virtues were those of the warrior ; therefore, their 
supreme god was the god of war, Odin, war, " the original or 
oldest law." Not the attribute of the divinity, but the divine- 
ness or deity of the attribute, is the first true Divine Being. 


Thus what theology and philosophy have held to he God, the 
Absolute, the Infinite, is not God ; hut that which they have 
held not to be God, is God : namely, the attribute, the quality, 
whatever has reality. Hence, he alone is the true atheist to 
whom the predicates of the Divine Being, for example, love, 
wisdom, justice, are nothing; not he to whom merely the sub 
ject of these predicates is nothing. And in no wise is the 
negation of the subject necessarily also a negation of the 
predicates considered in themselves. These have an intrinsic, 
independent reality ; they force their recognition upon man by 
their very nature ; they are self-evident truths to him ; they 
prove, they attest themselves. It does not follow that good 
ness, justice, wisdom, are chimseras, because the existence of 
God is a chimsera, nor truths because this is a truth. The idea 
of God is dependent on the idea of justice, of benevolence ; a 
God who is not benevolent, not just, not wise, is no God ; but 
the converse does not hold. The fact is not that a quality is 
divine because God has it, but that God has it because it is in 
itself divine : because without it God would be a defective 
being. Justice, wisdom, in general every quality which con 
stitutes the divinity of God, is determined and known by itself, 
independently, but the idea of God is determined by the quali 
ties which have thus been previously judged to be worthy of 
the divine nature ; only in the case in which I identify God 
and justice, in which I think of God immediately as the reality 
of the idea of justice, is the idea of God self-determined. But 
if God as a subject is the determined, while the quality, the 
predicate is the determining, then in truth the rank of the god 
head is due not to the subject, but to the predicate. 

Not until several, and those contradictory, attributes are 
united in one being, and this being is conceived as personal 
the personality being thus brought into especial promi 
nence not until then is the origin of religion lost sight of, is 
it forgotten that what the activity of the reflective power has 
converted into a predicate distinguishable or separable from 
the subject, was originally the true subject. Thus the Greeks 
and Romans deified accidents as substances : virtues, states of 
mind, passions, as independent beings. Man, especially the 
religious man, is to himself the measure of all things, of all 
reality. Whatever strongly impresses a man, whatever pro 
duces an unusual effect on his mind, if it be only a peculiar, 
inexplicable sound or note, he personifies as a divine being. 


Eeligion embraces all the objects of the world ; everything ex 
isting has been an object of religious reverence ; in the nature 
and consciousness of religion there is nothing else than what 
lies in the nature of man and in his consciousness of himself 
and of the world. Religion has no material exclusively its 
own. In Rome even the passions of fear and terror had their 
temples. The Christians also made mental phenomena into 
independent beings, their own feelings into qualities of things, 
the passions which governed them into powers which governed 
the world, in short, predicates of their own nature, whether reco 
gnized as such or not, into independent subjective existences. 
Devils, cobolds, witches, ghosts, angels, were sacred truths as 
long as the religious spirit held undivided sway over mankind. 
In order to banish from the mind the identity of the divine 
and human predicates, and the consequent identity of the divine 
and human nature, recourse is had to the idea that God, as the 
absolute, real Being, has an infinite fulness of various predi 
cates, of which we here know only a part, and those such as 
are analogous to our own ; while the rest, by virtue of which 
God must thus have quite a different nature from the human 
or that which is analogous to the human, we shall only know 
in the future that is, after death. But an infinite plenitude 
or multitude of predicates which are really different, so different 
that the one does not immediately involve the other, is realized 
only in an infinite plenitude or multitude of different beings or 
individuals. Thus the human nature presents an infinite abun 
dance of different predicates, and for that very reason it presents 
an infinite abundance of different individuals. Each new man 
is a new predicate, a new phasis of humanity. As many as are 
the men, so many are the powers, the properties of humanity. 
It is true that there are the same elements in every individual, 
but under such various conditions and modifications that they 
appear new and peculiar. The mystery of the inexhaustible ful 
ness of the divine predicates is therefore nothing else than the 
mystery of human nature considered as an infinitely varied, in 
finitely modifiable, but, consequently, phenomenal being. Only 
in the realm of the senses, only in space and time, does there 
exist a being of really infinite qualities or predicates. Where 
there are really different predicates, there are different times. 
One man is a distinguished musician, a distinguished author, 
a distinguished physician ; but he cannot compose music, write 
books, and perform cures in the same moment of time. Time, 


and not the Hegelian dialectic, is the medium of uniting op- 
posites, contradictories, in one and the same subject. But 
distinguished and detached from the nature of man, and com 
bined with the idea of God, the infinite fulness of various 
predicates is a conception without reality, a mere phantasy, 
a conception derived from the sensible world, but without the 
essential conditions, without the truth of sensible existence, a 
conception which stands in direct contradiction with the Divine 
Being considered as a spiritual, i.e., an abstract, simple, single 
being ; for the predicates of God are precisely of this character, 
that one involves all the others, because there is no real dif 
ference between them. If, therefore, in the present predicates 
I have not the future, in the present God not the future God, 
then the future God is not the present, but they are two dis 
tinct beings.* But this distinction is in contradiction with 
the unity and simplicity of the theological God. Why is a 
given predicate a predicate of God ? Because it is divine in 
its nature ; i.e., because it expresses no limitation, no defect, 
Why are other predicates applied to Him ? Because, however 
various in themselves, they agree in this, that they all alike ex 
press perfection, unlimitedness. Hence I can conceive innu 
merable predicates of God, because they must all agree with 
the abstract idea of the Godhead, and must have in common 
that which constitutes every single predicate a divine attribute. 
Thus it is in the system of Spinoza. He speaks of an infinite 
number of attributes of the divine substance, but he specifies 
none except Thought and Extension. Why? because itis a matter 
of indifference to know them; nay, becausethey are in themselves 
indifferent, superfluous : for with all these innumerable predi 
cates, I yet always mean to say the same thing as when I speak 
of thought and extension. Why is Thought an attribute of sub 
stance ? Because, according to Spinoza, it is capable of being 
conceived by itself, because it expresses something indivisible, 
perfect, infinite. Why Extension or Matter? For the same 
reason. Thus, substance can have an indefinite number of predi- 
dicates, because it is not their specific definition, their difference, 

* For religious faith there is no other distinction between the present 
and future God than that the former is an object of faith, of conception, of 
imagination, while the latter is to be an object of immediate, that is, personal, 
sensible perception. In this life, and in the next, he is the same God j 
but in the one lie is incomprehensible, in the other, comprehensible. 


but their identity, their equivalence, which makes them attributes 
of substance. Or rather, substance has innumerable predicates 
only because (how strange!) it has properly no predicate; that 
is, no definite, real predicate. The indefinite unity which is the 
product of thought, completes itself by the indefinite multi 
plicity which is the product of the imagination. Because the 
predicate is not multum, it is multa. In truth, the positive pre 
dicates are Thought and Extension. In these two, infinitely 
more is said than in the nameless innumerable predicates; 
for they express something definite, in them I have something. 
But substance is too indifferent, too apathetic, to be some 
thing ; that is, to have qualities and passions; that it may 
not be something, it is rather nothing. 

Now, when it is shown that what the subject is, lies entirely 
in the attributes of the subject; that is, that the predicate is the 
true subject; it is also proved that if the divine predicates are 
attributes of the human nature, the subject of those predicates 
is also of the human nature. But the divine predicates are 
partly general, partly personal. The general predicates are 
the metaphysical, but these serve only as external points of 
support to religion; they are not the characteristic definitions 
of religion. It is the personal predicates alone which con 
stitute the essence of religion in which the Divine Being is 
the object of religion. Such are, for example, that God is a 
Person, that he is the moral Law- giver, the Father of man 
kind, the Holy One, the Just, the Good, the Merciful. It is 
however at once clear, or it will at least be clear in the sequel, 
with regard to these and other definitions, that, especially as 
applied to a personality, they are purely human definitions, and 
that consequently man in religion in his relation to God is 
in relation to his own nature; for to the religious sentiment 
these predicates are not mere conceptions, mere images, which 
man forms of God, to be distinguished from that which God 
is in himself, but truths, facts, realities. Eeligion knows 
nothing of anthropomorphisms; to it they are not anthropo 
morphisms. It is the very essence of religion, that to it these 
definitions express the nature of God. They are pronounced 
to be images only by the understanding, which reflects on 
religion, and which while defending them yet before its own 
tribunal denies them. But to the religious sentiment God is 
a real Father, real Love and Mercy; for to it he is a real, 
living, personal being, and therefore his attributes are also 


living and personal. Nay, the definitions which are the most 
sufficing to the religious sentiment, are precisely those which 
give the most offence to the understanding, and which in the 
process of reflection on religion it denies. Religion is essen 
tially emotion; hence, objectively also, emotion is to it neces 
sarily of a divine nature. Even anger appears to it an 
emotion not unworthy of God, provided only there he a reli 
gious motive at the foundation of this anger. 

But here it is also essential to observe, and this phenomenon 
is an extremely remarkable one, characterising the very core 
of religion, that in proportion as the divine subject is in 
reality human, the greater is the apparent difference between 
God and man; that is, the more, by reflection on religion, by 
theology, is the identity of the divine and human denied, 
and the human, considered as such, is depreciated.* The 
reason of this is, that as what is positive in the conception of 
the divine being can only be human, the conception of man, 
as an object of consciousness can only be negative. To 
enrich God, man must become poor; that God may be all, 
man must be nothing. But he desires to be nothing in him 
self, because what he takes from himself is not lost to him, 
since it is preserved in God. Man has his being in God; 
why then should he have it in himself? Where is the- neces 
sity of positing the same thing twice, of having it twice? What 
man withdraws from himself, what he renounces in .himself, he 
only enjoys in an incomparably higher and fuller measure in God. 

The monks made a vow of chastity to God ; they morti 
fied the sexual passion in themselves, but therefore they 
had in Heaven, in the Virgin Mary, the image of woman 
an image of love. They could the more easily dispense 
with real woman, in proportion as an ideal woman was an 
object of love to them. The greater the importance they 
attached to the denial of sensuality, the greater the import 
ance of the Heavenly Virgin for them : she was to them in 
the place of Christ, in the stead of God. The more the 

* Inter creatorem et creaturam non potest tanta similitude notari, quin 
inter eos major sit dissimilitude notanda. Later. Cone. can. 2. (Summa 
Omn. Cone. Carranza. Antw. 1559. p. 326.) The last distinction 
between man and God, between the finite and infinite nature, to which the 
religious speculative imagination soars, is the distinction between Some 
thing and Nothing, Ens and Non-Ens ; for only in Nothing is all com 
munity with other beings abolished. 



sensual tendencies are renounced, the more sensual is the 
God to whom they are sacrificed. For whatever is made an 
offering to God has an especial value attached to it ; in it God 
is supposed to have especial pleasure. That which is the 
highest in the estimation of man, is naturally the highest in 
the estimation of his God what pleases man, pleases God 
also. The Hebrews did not offer to Jehovah unclean, ill- 
conditioned animals; on the contrary, those which they most 
highly prized, which they themselves ate, were also the food 
of God (cibus Dei, Levit. iii. 2.) Wherever, therefore, the 
denial of the sensual delights is made a special offering, a 
sacrifice well-pleasing to God, there the highest value is 
attached to the senses, and the sensuality which has been 
renounced is unconsciously restored, in the fact that God 
takes the place of the material delights which have "been 
renounced. The nun weds herself to God ; she has a heavenly 
bridegroom, the monk a heavenly bride. But the heavenly 
virgin is only a sensible presentation of a general truth, having 
relation to the essence of religion. Man denies as to himself 
only what he attributes to God. Eeligion abstracts from man, 
from the world ; but it can only abstract from the limitations, 
from the phenomena, in short, from the negative, not from the 
essence, the positive, of the world and humanity: hence, in the 
very abstraction and negation it must recover that from which 
it abstracts, or believes itself to abstract. And thus, in reality, 
whatever religion consciously denies always supposing that 
what is denied by it is something essential, true, and conse 
quently incapable of being ultimately denied it unconsciously 
restores in God. Thus, in religion man denies his reason ; of him 
self he knows nothing of God, his thoughts are only worldly, 
earthly; he can only believe what God reveals to him. But 
on this account the thoughts of God are human, earthly 
thoughts: like man, He has plans in His mind, he accommo 
dates himself to circumstances and grades of intelligence, like 
a tutor with his pupils ; he calculates closely the effect of his 
gifts and revelations; he observes man in all his doings; he 
knows all things, even the most earthly, the commonest, the 
most trivial. In brief, man in relation to God denies his own 
knowledge, his own thoughts, that he may place them in God. 
Man gives up his personality; but in return, God, the Al 
mighty, infinite, unlimited being, is a person ; he denies 
human dignity, the human ego; but in return God is to him 


a selfish, egoistical being, who in all things seeks only Him 
self, his own honour, his own ends; he represents God as 
simply seeking the satisfaction of his own selfishness, while 
yet He frowns on that of every other being; his God is the 
very luxury of egoism.* Religion further denies goodness as 
a quality of human nature; man is wicked, corrupt, incapable 
of good ; but on the other hand, God is only good the Good 
Being. Man's nature demands as an object goodness, personi 
fied as God; but is it not hereby declared that goodness is an 
essential tendency of man ? If my heart is wicked, my 
understanding perverted, how can I perceive and feel the holy 
to be holy, the good to be good? Could I perceive the 
beauty of a fine picture, if my mind were resthetically an 
absolute piece of perversion ? Though I may not be a painter, 
though I may not have the power of producing what is beau 
tiful myself, I must yet have esthetic feeling, aBsthetic com 
prehension, since I perceive the beauty that is presented 
to me externally. Either goodness does not exist at all 
for man, or, if it does exist, therein is revealed to the indi 
vidual man the holiness and goodness of human nature. That 
which is absolutely opposed to my nature, to which I am 
united by no bond of sympathy, is not even conceivable or 
perceptible by me. The Holy is in opposition to me only as 
regards the modifications of my personality, but as regards my 
fundamental nature it is in unity with me. The Holy is a 
reproach to my sinfulness; in it I recognise myself as a sinner; 
but in so doing, while I blame myself, I acknowledge what I 
am not, but ought to be, and what, for that very reason, I, 
according to my destination, can be; for an "ought" which 
has no corresponding capability, does not affect me, is a 
ludicrous chimsera without any true relation to my mental 
constitution. But when I acknowledge goodness as my desti 
nation, as my law, I acknowledge it, whether consciously or 
unconsciously, as my own nature. Another nature than my 
own, one different in quality, cannot touch me. I can per 
ceive sin as sin, only when I perceive it to be a contradiction 
of myself with myself that is, of my personality with my 

* Gloriam suam plus amat Deus quam omnes creaturas. " God can only 
love himself, can only think of himself, can only work for himself. In 
creating man, God seeks his own ends, his own glory,"&c. Yid. P. Bayle. 
Ein Beit-rag zur Geschichte der Philos. u. Menschh. p. 104 107. 

c 2 


fundamental nature. As a contradiction of the absolute, con 
sidered as another being, the feeling of sin is inexplicable, 

The distinction between Augustinianism and Pelagianism 
consists only in this, that the former expresses after the manner 
of religion what the latter expresses after the manner of ra 
tionalism. Both say the same thing, both vindicate the good 
ness of man; but Pelagianism does it directly, in a rationalistic 
and moral form, Augustinianism indirectly, in a mystical, that 
is, a religious form.* For that which is given to man's God, 
is in truth given to man himself; what a man declares con 
cerning God, he in truth declares concerning himself. Augus 
tinianism would be a truth, and a truth opposed to Pela 
gianism, only if man had the devil for his God, and with 
the consciousness that he was the devil, honoured, reverenced, 
and worshipped him as the highest being. But so long as 
man adores a good being as his God, so long does he con 
template in God the goodness of his own nature. 

As with the "doctrine of the radical corruption of human na 
ture, so is it with the identical doctrine, that man can do 
nothing good, i. e., in truth, nothing of himself by his own 
strength. For the denial of human strength and spontaneous 
moral activity to be true, the moral activity of God must also 
be denied ; and we must say, with the oriental nihilist or pan 
theist : the Divine being is absolutely without will or action, 
indifferent, knowing nothing of the discrimination between evil 
and good. But he who defines God as an active being, and 
not only so, but as morally active and morally critical, as a 
being who loves, works, and rewards good, punishes, rejects, and 
condemns evil, he who thus defines God, only in appearance 
denies human activity, in fact making it the highest, the most 

* Pelagianism denies God, religion isti tantam tribuunt potestatem 
voluntati, ut pietati auferant orationem. (Augustin de Nat. et Grat. cont. 
Pelagium, c, 58.) It has only the Creator, i. e., Nature, as a "basis, not the 
Saviour, the true God of the religious sentiment in a word, it denies God ; 
but, as a consequence of this, it elevates man into a God, since it makes 
him a being not needing God, self-sufficing, independent. (See on this 
subject Luther against Erasmus and Augustine, 1. c. c. 33.) Augusti 
nianism denies man ; but, as a consequence of this, it reduces God to the 
level of man, even to the ignominy of the cross, for the sake of man. 
The former puts man in the place of God, the latter puts God in the place 
of man ; both lead to the same result the distinction is only apparent, a 
pious illusion. Augustinianism is only an inverted Pelagianism ; what to 
the latter" is a subject, is to the former an object. 


real activity. He who makes God act humanly, declares human 
activity to be divine; he says: a god who is not active, and 
not morally or humanly active, is no god; and thus he makes 
the idea of the Godhead dependent on the idea of activity, that 
is, of human activity, for a higher he knows not. 

Man this is the mystery of religion projects his being into 
objectivity,* and then again makes himself an object to this 
projected image of himself thus converted into a subject; he 
thinks of himself, is an object to himself, but as the object of 
an object, of another being than himself. Thus here. Alan 
is an object to God. That man is good or evil is not indif 
ferent to God ; no ! He has a lively, profound interest in 
man's being good ; he wills that man should be good, happy 
for without goodness there is no happiness. Thus the 
religious man virtually retracts the nothingness of human 
activity, by making his dispositions and actions an object to 
God, by making man the end of God for that which is an 
object to the mind is an end in action ; by making the divine 
activity a means of human salvation. God acts, that man may 
be good and happy. Thus man, while he is apparently 
humiliated to the lowest degree, is in truth exalted to the 
highest. Thus, in and through God, man has in view himself 
alone. It is true that man places the aim of his action in 
God, but God has no other aim of action than the moral and 
eternal salvation of man: thus man has in fact no other aim 
than himself. The divine activity is not distinct from the 

How could the divine activity work on me as its object, nay, 
work in me, if it were essentially different from me ; how could 
it have a human aim, the aim of ameliorating and blessing 
man, if it were not itself human ? Does not the purpose 
determine the nature of the act ? When man makes his moral 
improvement an aim to himself, he has divine resolutions, 
divine projects; but also, when God seeks the salvation of 
man, He has human ends and a human mode of activity, corre- 

* The religious, the original mode in which man becomes objective to 
himself, is (as is clearly enough explained in this work) to be distinguished 
from the mode in which this occurs in reflection and speculation ; the latter 
is voluntary, the former involuntary, necessary as necessary as art, as 
speech. With the progress of time, it is true, theology coincides with 


spending to these ends. Thus in God manh as only his own 
activity as an object. But, for the very reason that he regards 
his own activity as objective, goodness only as an object, he 
necessarily receives the impulse, the motive, not from himself, 
but from this object. He contemplates his nature as external 
to himself, and this nature as goodness; thus it is self-evident, 
it is mere tautology to say, that the impulse to good comes 
only from thence where he places the good. 

God is the highest subjectivity of man abstracted from him 
self; hence man can do nothing of himself, all goodness 
comes from God. The more subjective God is, the more 
completely does man divest himself of his subjectivity, because 
God is, per se, his relinquished self, the possession of 
which he however again vindicates to himself. As the 
action of the arteries drives the blood into the extremities, 
and the action of the veins brings it back again, as life in 
general consists in a perpetual systole and diastole ; so is it in 
religion. In the religious systole man propels his own nature 
from himself, he throws himself outward; in the religious 
diastole he receives the rejected nature into his heart again. 
God alone is the being who acts of himself, this is the force 
of repulsion in religion ; God is the being who acts in me, 
with me, through me, upon me, for me, is the principle of my 
salvation, of my good dispositions and actions, consequently 
my own good principle and nature, this is the force of attrac 
tion in religion. t 

The course of religious development which has been generally 
indicated, consists specifically in this, that man abstracts more 
and more from God, and attributes more and more to himself. 
This is especially apparent in the belief in revelation. That 
which to a later age or a cultured people is given by nature or 
reason, is to an earlier age, or to a yet uncultured people, given 
by God. Every tendency of man, however natural even the 
impulse to cleanliness, w T as conceived by the Israelites as a 
positive divine ordinance. From this example we again see 
that God is lowered, is conceived more entirely on the type of 
ordinary humanity, in proportion as man detracts from himself. 
How can the self-humiliation of man go further than when he 
disclaims the capability of fulfilling spontaneously the require 
ments of common decency ?* The Christian religion, on the 

* Deut. xxiii. 12, 13. 


other hand, distinguished the impulses and passions of man ac 
cording to their quality, their character ; it represented only 
good emotions, good dispositions, good thoughts, as revela 
tions, operations that is, as dispositions, feelings, thoughts, 
of God; for what God reveals is a quality of God himself: that 
of which the heart is full, overflows the lips, as is the effect 
such is the cause, as the revelation, such the "being who re 
veals himself. A God who reveals himself in good dispositions 
is a God whose essential attribute is only moral perfection. 
The Christian religion distinguishes inward moral purity from 
external physical purity; the Israelites identified the two.* In 
relation to the Israelitish religion, the Christian religion is one 
of criticism and freedom. The Israelite trusted himself to do 
nothing except what was commanded by God ; he was without 
will even in external things ; the authority of religion extended 
itself even to his food. The Christian religion, on the other 
hand, in all these external things, made man dependent on 
himself, i. e., placed in man what the Israelite placed out of 
himself, in God. Israel is the most complete presentation of 
positivism in religion. In relation to the Israelite, the Chris 
tian is an esprit fort, a free-thinker. Thus do things change. 
What yesterday was still religion, is no longer such to-day; 
and what to-day is atheism, to-morrow will be religion. 

* See, for example, Gen. xxxv. 2; Levit. xi. 44; xx. 26; and the 
Commentary of Le Clerc on these passages. 





RELIGION is the disuniting of man from himself: he sets 
God before him as the antithesis of himself. God is not what 
man is man is not what God is. God is the infinite, man 
the finite being ; God is perfect, man imperfect ; God eternal, 
man temporal ; God almighty, man weak; God holy, man sin 
ful. God and man are extremes : God is the absolutely posi 
tive, the sum of all realities ; man the absolutely negative, 
comprehending all negations. 

But in religion man contemplates his own latent nature. 
Hence it must be shown that this antithesis, this differencing 
of God and man, with which religion begins, is a differencing 
of man with his own nature. 

The inherent necessity of this proof is at once apparent 
from this, that if the divine nature, which is the object of 
religion, were really different from the nature of man, a 
division, a disunion could not take place. If God is really a 
different being from myself, why should his perfection trouble 
me ? Disunion exists only between beings who are at variance, 
but who ought to be one, who can be one, and who conse 
quently in nature, in truth, are one. On this general ground, 
then, the nature with which man feels himself in disunion, 
must be inborn, immanent in himself, but at the same time it 
must be of a different character from that nature or power 
which gives him the feeling, the consciousness of reconciliation, 
of union with God, or, what is the same thing, with himself. 


This nature is nothing else than the intelligence the reason 
or the understanding. God as the antithesis of man, as a 
being not human, i.e., not personally human, is the objective 
nature of the understanding. The pure, perfect divine nature 
is the self- consciousness of the understanding, the conscious 
ness which the understanding has of its own perfection. The 
understanding knows nothing of the sufferings of the heart ; 
it has no desires, 110 passions, no wants, and for that reason, 
no deficiencies and weaknesses, as the heart has. Men in 
whom the intellect predominates, who with one-sided but all 
the more characteristic definiteness, embody and personify for 
us the nature of the understanding, are free from the anguish 
of the heart, from the passions, the excesses of the man who 
has strong emotions ; they are not passionately interested in 
any finite, i.e., particular object; they do not give themselves 
in pledge; they are free. "To want nothing, and by this 
freedom from wants to become like the immortal Gods ;" 
"not to subject ourselves to things but things to us;' 
" all is vanity ;" these and similar sayings are the mottoes 
of the men who are governed by abstract understanding. The 
understanding is that part of our nature which is neutral, im 
passible, not to be bribed, not subject to illusions the pure, 
passionless light of the intelligence. It is the categorical, 
impartial consciousness of the fact as fact, because it is itself 
of an objective nature. It is the consciousness of the uncon- 
tradictory, because it is itself the uncontradictory unity, the 
source of logical identity. It is the consciousness of law, 
necessity, rule, measure, because it is itself the activity of law, 
the necessity of the nature of things under the form of spon 
taneous activity, the rule of rules, the absolute measure, the 
measure of measures. Only by the understanding can man 
judge and act in contradiction with his dearest human, that is, 
personal feelings, when the God of the understanding, law, 
necessity, right, commands it. The father who as a judge 
condemns his own son to death because he knows him to be 
guilty, can do this only as a rational not as an emotional being. 
The understanding shews us the faults and weaknesses even of 
our beloved ones ; it shews us even our own. It is for this reason 
that it so often throws us into painful collision with ourselves, 
with our own hearts. AVe do not like to give reason the upper 
hand : we are too tender to ourselves to carry out the true, but 
hard, relentless verdict of the understanding. The under 

c 3 


standing is the power which has relation to species : the heart 
represents particular circumstances, individuals, the under 
standing, general circumstances, universals ; it is the super 
human, i.e., the impersonal power in man. Only by and in 
the understanding has man the power of abstraction from 
himself, from his subjective being, of exalting himself to 
general ideas and relations, of distinguishing the object from 
the impressions which it produces on his feelings, of regarding 
it in and by itself without reference to human personality. 
Philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, physics, in short, science 
in general, is the practical proof, because it is the product, of 
this truly infinite and divine activity. Religious anthropomor 
phisms, therefore, are in contradiction with the understanding; 
it repudiates their application to God : it denies them. But 
this God, free from anthropomorphisms, impartial, passionless, 
is nothing else than the nature of the understanding itself 
regarded as objective. 

God as God, that is, as a being not finite, not human, not 
materially conditioned, not phenomenal, is only an object of 
thought. He is the incorporeal, formless, incomprehensible 
the abstract, negative being: he is known, i.e., becomes an 
object, only by abstraction and negation (via negationis). 
Why ? Because he is nothing but the objective nature of the 
thinking power, or in general, of the power or activity, name 
it what you will, whereby man is conscious of reason, of mind, 
of intelligence. There is no other spirit, that is, (for the idea 
of spirit is simply the idea of thought, of intelligence, of 
understanding, every other spirit being a spectre of the imagi 
nation,) no other intelligence which man can believe in or con 
ceive, than that intelligence which enlightens him, which is 
active in him. He can do nothing more than separate the in 
telligence from the limitations of his own individuality. The 
"infinite spirit," in distinction from the finite, is therefore 
nothing else than the intelligence disengaged from the limits 
of individuality and corporeality, for individuality and cor 
poreality are inseparable, intelligence posited in and by itself. 
God, said the schoolmen, the Christian fathers, and long before 
them the heathen philosophers, God is immaterial essence, 
intelligence, spirit, pure understanding. Of God as God, no 
image can be made ; but canst thou frame an image of mind ? 
Has mind a form ? Is not its activity the most inexplicable, the 
most incapable of representation ? God is incomprehensible ; 


but knowest thou the nature of the intelligence ? Hast thou 
searched out the mysterious operation of thought, the hidden 
nature of self-consciousness ? Is not self-consciousness the 
enigma of enigmas ? Did not the old mystics, schoolmen, 
and fathers, long ago compare the incomprehensibility of the 
divine nature with that of the human intelligence, and thus, 
in truth, identify the nature of God with the nature of man ?* 
God as God as a purely thinkable being, an object of the in 
tellect, is thus nothing else than the reason in its utmost 
intensification become objective to itself. It is asked what is the 
understanding or the reason? The answer is found in the idea 
of God. Everything must express itself, reveal itself, make itself 
objective, affirm itself. God is the reason expressing, affirming 
itself as the highest existence. To the imagination, the reason 
is the revelation of God ; but to the reason, God is the reve 
lation of the reason; since what reason is, what it can do, is first 
made objective in God. God is a need of the intelligence, a neces 
sary thought the highest degree of the thinking power. " The 
reason cannot rest in sensuous things ;" it can find contentment 
only when it penetrates to the highest, first, necessary being, 
which can be an object to the reason alone. Why ? Because with 
the conception of this being it first completes itself, because only 
in the idea of the highest nature is the highest nature of reason 
existent, the highest step of the thinking power attained; and it 
is a general truth, that we feel a blank, a void, a want in our 
selves, and are consequently unhappy and unsatisfied, so long as 
we have not come to the last degree of a power, to that quo nili'd 
majus coqitarl potest, so long as we cannot bring our inborn 
capacity for this or that art, this or that science, to the utmost 
proficiency. For only in the highest proficiency is art truly 
art ; only in its highest degree is thought truly thought, reason. 
Only when thy thought is God, dost thou truly think, rigorously 
speaking; for only God is the realized, consummate, exhausted 
thinking power. Thus in conceiving God, man first conceives 

* Augustine, in his work Contra Academicos, which he wrote when he 
was still in some measure a heathen, says (1. iii. o. 12), that the highest 
good of man consists in the mind, or in the reason. On the other hand, in 
his Libr. Retractationum, which he wrote as a distinguished Christian and 
theologian, he revises (1. i. c. 1) this declaration as follows : Verius dk- 
issem in Deo. Ipso enim mens fruitur, ut beata sit, tanquam suinmo 
bono suo. Bat is there any distinction here ? Where my highest good is, 
is not there my nature also ? 


reason as it truly is, though, by means of the imagination he 
conceives this divine nature as distinct from reason, because as 
a being affected by external things he is accustomed always to 
distinguish the object from the conception of it. And here he 
applies the same process to the conception of the reason, thus, 
for an existence in reason, in thought, substituting an exis 
tence in space and time, from which he had, nevertheless, pre 
viously abstracted it. God, as a metaphysical being, is the 
intelligence satisfied in itself, or rather, conversely, the intelli 
gence satisfied in itself, thinking itself as the absolute being, 
is God as a metaphysical being. Hence all metaphysical 
predicates of God are real predicates only when they are re 
cognised as belonging to thought, to intelligence, to the un 

The understanding is that which conditionates and co 
ordinates all things, that which places all things in reciprocal 
dependence and connexion, because it is itself immediate and 
unconditioned ; it inquires for the cause of all things, because 
it has its own ground and end in itself. Only that which itself 
is nothing deduced, nothing derived, can deduce and cooi- 
s tract, can regard all besides itself as derived ; just as only 
that which exists for its own sake can view and treat other 
things as means and instruments. The understanding is thus 
the original, primitive being. The understanding derives all 
things from God, as the first cause , it finds the world, with 
out an intelligent cause, given over to senseless, aimless 
chance ; that is, it finds only in itself, in its own nature, the 
efficient and the final cause of the w r oiid the existence of the 
world is only then clear and comprehensible when it sees the 
explanation of that existence in the source of all clear and 
intelligible ideas, i.e. in itself. The being that works with 
design, towards certain ends, i.e. with understanding, is alone 
the being that to the understanding has immediate certitude, 
self- evidence. Hence that which of itself has no designs, no 
purpose, must have tbe cause of its existence in the design of 
another, and that an intelligent being. And thus the under 
standing posits its own nature as the causal, first, premun- 
dane existence : i.e. being in rank the first, but in time the 
last, it makes itself the first in time also. 

The understanding is to itself the criterion of all reality. 
That which is opposed to the understanding, that which is 
self-contradictory, is nothing; that which contradicts reason, 


contradicts God. For example, it is a contradiction of reason 
to connect with the idea of the highest reality the limitations 
of definite time and place; and hence reason denies these of God, 
as contradicting his nature. The reason can only believe in a 
God who is accordant with its own nature, in a God who is not 
beneath its own dignity, who on the contrary is a realization of 
its own nature : i.e., the reason believes only in itself, in the 
absolute reality of its own nature. The reason is not dependent 
on God, but God on the reason. Even in the age of miracles 
and faith in authority, the understanding constitutes itself, at 
least formally, the criterion of divinity. God is all and can 
do all, it was said, by virtue of his omnipotence ; but never 
theless he is nothing and he can do nothing which contradicts 
himself, i.e. reason. Even omnipotence cannot do what is 
contrary to reason. Thus above the divine omnipotence 
stands the higher power of reason ; above the nature of God 
the nature of the understanding, as the criterion of that which 
is to be affirmed and denied of God, the criterion of the posi 
tive and negative. Canst thou believe in a God who is an 
unreasonable and wicked being ? No, indeed ; but why not ? 
Because it is in contradiction wdth thy understanding to accept 
a wicked and unreasonable being as divine. What then dost 
thou affirm, what is an object to thee, in God ? Thy own 
understanding. God is thy highest idea, the supreme effort 
of thy understanding, thy highest power of thought. God is 
the sum of all realities, i.e. the sum of all affirmations of the 
understanding. That which I recognise in the understanding 
as essential, I place in God as existent : God is, what the 
understanding thinks as the highest. But in what I per 
ceive to be essential, is revealed the nature of my under 
standing, is shown the power of my thinking faculty. 

Thus the understanding is the ens realissimum, the most 
real being of the old onto- theology. " Fundamentally," says 
onto-theology, "we cannot conceive God otherwise than by 
attributing to him without limit all the real qualities which we 
find in ourselves."* Our positive, essential qualities, our 
realities, are therefore the realities of God, but in us they 
exist with, in God without, limits. But what then withdraws 
the limits from the realities, what does away with the limits ? 
The understanding. What, according to this, is the nature 

* Kant Yorles. iiber d. philos. Eeligionsl. Leipzig. 1817. p. 39. 


conceived without limits, but the nature of the understanding 
releasing, abstracting itself from all limits ? As thou thiiikest 
God, such is thy thought ; the measure of thy God is the 
measure of thy understanding. If thou conceivest God as 
limited, thy understanding is limited ; if thou conceivest God 
as unlimited, thy understanding is unlimited. If, for example, 
thou conceivest God as a corporeal being, corporeality is the 
boundary, the limit of thy understanding, thou canst con 
ceive nothing without a body ; if on the contrary thou deniest 
corporeality of God, this is a corroboration and proof of the 
freedom of thy understanding from the limitation of corpo 
reality. In the unlimited divine nature thou representest only 
thy unlimited understanding. And when thou deelarest this 
unlimited being the ultimate essence, the highest being, thou 
sayest in reality nothing else than this : the etre supreme, the 
highest being, is the understanding. 

The understanding is further the self-subsistent and indepen 
dent being. That which has no understanding is not self- 
subsistent, is dependent. A man without understanding is a 
man without will. He who has no understanding allows 
himself to be deceived, .imposed upon, used as an instrument 
by others. How shall he whose understanding is the tool of 
another, have an independent will ? Only he who thinks, is 
free and independent. It is only by the understanding that 
man reduces the things around and beneath him to mere 
means of his own existence. In general : that only is self- 
subsistent and independent which is an end to itself, an object 
to itself. That which is an end and object to itself, is for 
that very reason in so far as it is an object to itself no 
longer a means and object for another being. To be without 
understanding is, in one word, to exist for another, to be an 
object: to have understanding is to exist for oneself, to be a 
subject. But that which 110 longer exists for another, but for 
itself, rejects all dependence on another being. It is true, we, 
as physical beings, depend on the beings external to us, even 
as to the modifications of thought ; but in so far as we think, 
in the activity of the understanding as such, we are depen 
dent on no other being. Activity of thought is spontaneous 
activity. " When I think, I am conscious that my ego in me 
thinks, and not some other thing. I conclude, therefore, that 
this thinking in me does not inhere in another thing outside 
of me, but in myself, consequently that I am a substance, i.e. 


that I exist by myself, without being a predicate of another 
being."* Although we always need the air, yet as natural 
philosophers we convert the air from an object of our physical 
need into an object of the self-sufficing activity of thought, i.e. 
into a mere thing for us. In breathing I am the object of the 
air, the air the subject ; but when I make the air an object of 
thought, of investigation, when I analyze it, I reverse this 
relation, I make myself the subject, the air an object. But 
that which is the object of another being is dependent. Thus 
the plant is dependent on air and light, that is, it is an object 
for air and light, not for itself. It is true that air and light 
are reciprocally an object for the plant. Physical life, in 
general, is nothing else than this perpetual interchange of the 
objective and subjective relation. We consume the air, and 
are consumed by it; we enjoy, and are enjoyed. The 
understanding alone enjoys all things without being itself 
enjoyed ; it is the self- enjoying, self-sufficing existence the 
absolute subject the subject which cannot be reduced to the 
object of another being, because it makes all things objects, 
predicates of itself, which comprehends all things in itself 
because it is itself not a thing, because it is free from all things. 
That is dependent, the possibility of whose existence lies 
out of itself; that is independent which has the possibility of 
its existence in itself. Life therefore involves the contradic 
tion of an existence at once dependent and independent, the 
contradiction that its possibility lies both in itself and out of 
itself. The understanding alone is free from this and other 
contradictions of life ; it is the essence perfectly self-subsistent, 
perfectly at one with itself, perfectly self-existentf Thinking 
is existence in self; life, as differenced from thought, exist 
ence out of self; life is to give from oneself, thought is to 
take into oneself. Existence out of self is the world, exist 
ence in self is God. To think is to be God. The act of 
thought, as such, is the freedom of the immortal gods from 
all external limitations and necessities of life. 

* Kant, 1. c. p. 80. 

f To guard against mistake I observe, that I do not apply to the un 
derstanding the expression, self-subsistent essence, and other terms of a like 
character, in my own sense, but that I am here placing myself on the 
stand-point of onto-theology, of metaphysical theology in general, in 
order to shew that metaphysics is resolvable into psychology, that the onto- 
theological predicates are merely predicates of the understanding. 


The unity of the understanding is the unity of God. To 
the understanding the consciousness of its unity and universality 
is essential; the understanding is itself nothing else than the 
consciousness of itself as absolute identity, i.e. that which is 
accordant with the understanding is to it an absolute, universally 
valid, law ; it is impossible to the understanding to think that 
what is self- contradictory, false, irrational, can anywhere be 
true, and, conversely, that what is true, rational, can anywhere 
be false and irrational. " There may be intelligent beings 
who are not like me, and yet I am certain that there are no 
intelligent beings who know laws and truths different from 
those which I recognise ; for every mind necessarily sees that 
two and two make four, and that one must prefer one's fiiend 
to one's dog."* Of an essentially different understanding from 
that which affirms itself in man, I have not the remotest 
conception, the faintest adumbration. On the contrary, every 
understanding which I posit as different from my own, is only 
a position of my own understanding, i.e. an idea of my own, 
a conception which falls within my power of thought, and thus 
expresses my understanding. What I think, that I myself 
do, of course only in purely intellectual matters ; what I think 
of as united, I unite ; what I think of as distinct, I distinguish ; 
what I think of as abolished, as negatived, that I myself 
abolish and negative. For example, if I conceive an under 
standing in which the intuition or reality of the object is 
immediately united with the thought of it, I actually unite 
it ; my understanding or my imagination is itself the power 
of uniting these distinct or opposite ideas. How would it be 
possible for me to conceive them united whether this con 
ception be clear or confused if I did not unite them in 
myself? But whatever may be the conditions of the under 
standing which a given human individual may suppose as 
distinguished from his own, this other understanding is only 
the understanding which exists in man in general the under 
standing conceived apart from the limits of this particular indi 
vidual. Unity is involved in the idea of the understanding. 

* Malebranche. (See the author's Geschichte der Philos. I. Bd. 
p. 322.) Exstaretne alibi di versa ab hac ratio ? censereturque injustum 
aut scelestum in Jove aut Marte, quod apud nos justum ac pra9clarum 
habetur ? Certe uec verisimile nee omnino possibile. Chr. Hugenii. 
(Cosmotheoros, lib. i.) 


The impossibility for the understanding to think two supreme 
beings, two infinite substances, two Gods, is the impossibility 
for the understanding to contradict itself, to deny its own 
nature, to think of itself as divided. 

The understanding is the infinite being. Infinitude is 
immediately involved in unity, and finiteness in plurality. 
Finiteness in the metaphysical sense rests on the distinction 
of the existence from the essence, of the individual from the 
species ; infinitude, on the unity of existence and essence. 
Hence, that is finite which can be compared with other beings 
of the same species ; that is infinite which has nothing like 
itself, which consequently does not stand as an individual 
under a species, but is species and individual in one, essence 
and existence in one. But such is the understanding ; it has 
its essence in itself, consequently, it has nothing together with 
or external to itself which can be ranged beside it ; it is 
incapable of being compared, because it is itself the source of 
all combinations and comparisons ; immeasurable, because it is 
the measure of all measures, we measure all things by the 
understanding alone ; it can be circumscribed by no higher 
generalization, it can be ranged under no species, because it 
is itself the principle of all generalizing, of all classification, 
because it circumscribes all things and beings. The definitions 
which the speculative philosophers and theologians give of 
God, as the being in whom existence and essence are not 
separable, who himself is all the attributes which he has, so 
that predicate and subject are with him identical, all these 
definitions are thus ideas drawn solely from the nature of the 

Lastly, the understanding or the reason is the necessary 
being. Reason exists because only the existence of the reason 
is reason ; because, if there were no reason, no consciousness, 
all would be nothing; existence would be equivalent to non- 
existence. Consciousness first founds the distinction between 
existence and non-existence. In consciousness is first revealed 
the value of existence, the value of nature. Why, in general, 
does something exist? why does the world exist? on the 
simple ground that if something did not exist, nothing would 
exist; if reason did not exist, there would be only unreason; 
thus the world exists because it is an absurdity that the w r orld 
should not exist. In the absurdity of its non-existence is 
found the true reason of its existence, in the groundlessness 


of the supposition that it were not, the reason that it is. 
Nothing, non-existence, is aimless, nonsensical, irrational. 
Existence alone has an aim, a foundation, rationality; exist 
ence is, because only existence is reason and truth ; existence 
is the absolute necessity. What is the cause of conscious 
existence, of life ? The need of life. But to whom is it a 
need ? To that which does not live. It is not a being who 
saw that made the eye : to one who saw already, to what 
purpose would be the eye ? No ! only the being who saw 
not needed the eye. We are all come into the world without 
the operation of knowledge and will ; but we are come that 
knowledge and will may exist. Whence, then, came the 
world ? Out of necessity ; not out of a necessity which lies 
in another being distinct from itself that is a pure contra 
diction, but out of its own inherent necessity ; out of the 
necessity of necessity; because without the world there would 
be no necessity ; without necessity, no reason, no under 
standing. The nothing, out of which the world came, is 
nothing without the world. It is true that thus, negativity, 
as the speculative philosophers express themselves nothing 
is the cause of the world ; but a nothing which abolishes 
itself, i.e. a nothing which could not have existed if there had 
been no world. It is true that the world springs out of a 
want, out of privation, but it is false speculation to make 
this privation an ontological being : this want is simply the 
want which lies in the supposed non-existence of the world. 
Thus the world is only necessary out of itself and through 
itself. But the necessity of the world is the necessity of 
reason. The reason, as the sum of all realities, for what are 
all the glories of the world without light, much more external 
light without internal light ? the reason is the most indispen 
sable being the profoundest and most essential necessity. In 
the reason first lies the self-consciousness of existence, self- 
conscious existence ; in the reason is first revealed the end, 
the meaning of existence. Reason is existence objective to 
itself as its own end; the ultimate tendency of things. That 
which is an object to itself is the highest, the final being : 
that which has power over itself is almighty. 



GOD as God the infinite, universal, non- anthropomorphic 
being of the understanding, has no more significance for reli 
gion than a fundamental general principle has for a special 
science; it is merely the ultimate point of support, as it were, 
the mathematical point, of religion. The consciousness of 
human limitation or nothingness which is united with the idea 
of this being, is by no means a religious consciousness; on 
the contrary, it characterizes sceptics, materialists, and pan 
theists. The belief in God at least in the God of religion 
33 only lost where, as in scepticism, pantheism, and mate 
rialism, the belief in man is lost, at least in man such as 
he is presupposed in religion. As little then as religion has 
any influential belief in the nothingness of man,* so little has 
it any influential belief in that abstract being with which the 
consciousness of this nothingness is united. The vital ele 
ments of religion are those only which make man an object to 
man. To deny man, is to deny religion. 

It certainly is the interest of religion that its object should 
be distinct from man; but it is also, nay, yet more its in 
terest, that this object should have human attributes. That 
he should be a distinct being concerns his existence only; but 
that he should be human concerns his essence. If he be of a 
different nature, how can his existence or non-existence be of 
any importance to man ? How can he take so profound an 
interest in an existence in which his own nature has no par 
ticipation ? 

To give an example. "When I believe that the human 

* In religion, the representation or expression of the nothingness of man 
before God, is the anger of God ; for as the love of God is the affirmation, 
his anger is the negation of man. But even this anger is not taken in 
earnest. " God ... is not really angry. He is not thoroughly in earnest 
even when we think that he is angry, and punishes."- Luther (T. viii. 
p. 208). 


nature alone has suffered for me, Christ is a poor Saviour to 
me; in that case, he needs a Saviour himself." And thus, out 
of the need for salvation, is postulated something transcending 
human nature, a being different from man. But no sooner is 
this being postulated than there arises the yearning of man 
after himself, after his own nature, and man is immediately 
re-established. " Here is God, who is not man and never yet 

became man. But this is not a God for me That would 

be a miserable Christ to me, who should be nothing but 

a purely separate God and divine person without hu 
manity. No, my friend, where thou givest me God, thou must 
give me humanity too."* 

In religion man seeks contentment; religion is his highest 
good. But how could he find consolation and peace in God, 
if God were an essentially different being ? How can I share 
the peace of a being if I am not of the same nature with him ? 
If his nature is different from mine, his peace is essentially 
different, it is no peace for me. How then can I become a 
partaker of his peace, if I am not a partaker of his nature; but 
how can I be a partaker of his nature if I am really of a dif 
ferent nature ? Every being experiences peace only in its 
own element, only in the conditions of its own nature. Thus, 
if man feels peace in God, he feels it only because in God he 
first attains his true nature, because here, for the first time, he 
is with himself, because everything in which he hitherto sought 
peace, and which he hitherto mistook for his nature, was alien 
to him. Hence, if man is to find contentment in God, he must 
find himself in God. " No one will taste of God, but as He 
wills, namely in the humanity of Christ; and if thou dost 
not find God thus, thou wilt never have rest."f " Everything 
finds rest on the place in which it was born. The place where 
I was born is God. God is my father-land. Have I a father 
in God ? Yes, I have not only a father, but I have myself in 
Him ; before I lived in myself, I lived already in God."J 

A God, therefore, who expresses only the nature of the un 
derstanding, does not satisfy religion, is not the God of religion. 

* Luther, Concordienbuch, Art. 8. Erklar. 

f Luther. (Sammtliche Schriften und Werke. Leipzig, 1729, fol. 
T. iii. p. 589. It is according to this edition that references are given 
throughout the present work.) 

Predigten etzlicher Lehrer vor und zu Tauleri Zeiten. Hamburg, 
1621, p. 81. 


The understanding is interested not only in man, but in the 
things out of man, in universal Nature. The intellectual man 
forgets even himself in the contemplation of Nature. The Chris 
tians scorned the pagan philosophers because, instead of think 
ing of themselves, of their own salvation, they had thought 
only of things out of themselves. The Christian thinks only 
of himself. By the understanding an insect is contemplated 
with as much enthusiasm as the image of God man. The 
understanding is the absolute indifference and identity of all 
things and beings. It is not Christianity, not religious enthu 
siasm, but the enthusiasm of the understanding that we have 
to thank for botany, mineralogy, zoology, physics, and astro 
nomy. The understanding is universal, pantheistic, the 
love of the universe ; but the grand characteristic of reli 
gion, and of the Christian religion especially, is, that it is 
thoroughly anthropotheistic, the exclusive love of man for him 
self, the exclusive self-affirmation of the human nature, that 
is, of subjective human nature; for it is true that the under 
standing also affirms the nature of man, but it is his 
objective nature, which has reference to the object for the 
sake of the object, and the manifestation of w r hich is science. 
Hence it must be something entirely different from the nature 
of the understanding which is an object to man in religion, if 
he is to find contentment therein, and this something will neces 
sarily be the very kernel of religion. 

Of all the attributes which the understanding assigns to God, 
that which in religion, and especially in the Christian religion, has 
the pre-eminence, is moral perfection. But God as a morally 
perfect being is nothing else than the realized idea, the ful 
filled law of morality, the moral nature of man posited as 
the absolute being ; man's own nature, for the moral God re 
quires man to be as He himself is : Be ye holy for I am holy; 
man's own conscience, for how could he otherwise tremble 
before the divine Being, accuse himself before him, and make 
him the judge of his inmost thoughts and feelings? 

But the consciousness of the absolutely perfect moral nature, 
especially as an abstract being separate from man, leaves us 
cold and empty, because we feel the distance, the chasm between 
ourselves and this being ; it is a dispiriting consciousness, for 
it is the consciousness of our personal nothingness, and of the 
kind which is the most acutely felt moral nothingness. The 
consciousness of the divine omnipotence and eternity in oppo- 



sition to my limitation in space and time does not afflict me : 
for omnipotence does not command me to be myself omnipo 
tent, eternity, to be myself eternal. But I cannot have the 
idea of moral perfection without at the same time being con 
scious of it as a law for me. Moral perfection depends, at 
least for the moral consciousness, not on the nature, but on the 
will it is a perfection of will, perfect will. I cannot conceive 
perfect will, the will which is in unison with law, which is 
itself law, without at the same time regarding it as an 
object of will, i.e., as an obligation for myself. The conception 
of the morally perfect being, is no merely theoretical, inert 
conception, but a practical one, calling me to action, to imita 
tion, throwing me into strife, into disunion with myself; for 
while it proclaims to me what I ought to be, it also tells me to 
my face, without any flattery, what I am not.* And religion 
renders this disunion all the more painful, all the more terrible, 
that it sets man's own nature before him as a separate nature, 
and moreover as a personal being, who hates and curses sinners, 
and excludes them from his grace, the source of all salvation 
and happiness. 

Now, by what means does man deliver himself from this 
state of disunion between himself and the perfect being, from 
the painful consciousness of sin, from the distressing sense of 
his own nothingness? How does he blunt the fatal sting of 
sin ? Only by this ; that he is conscious of love as the 
highest, the absolute power and truth, that he regards the 
Divine Being not only as a law, as a moral being, as a being 
of the understanding; but also as a loving, tender, even sub 
jective human being (that is, as having sympathy with indi 
vidual man.) 

The understanding judges only according to the stringency 
of law; the heart accommodates itself, is considerate, lenient, 
relenting, KCIT avOpuTrov. No man is sufficient for the law 
which moral perfection sets before us; but for that reason, 
neither is the law sufficient for man, for the heart. The law 
condemns ; the heart has compassion even on the sinner. The 
law affirms me only as an abstract being, love, as a real 

* " That which, in our own judgment, derogates from our self-conceit, 
humiliates us. Thus the moral law inevitably humiliates every man, 
when he compares with it the sensual tendency of his nature." Kant, 
Kritik der prakt. Yernunft. Fourth edition, p. 132. 


being. Love gives me the consciousness that I am a man; 
the law only the consciousness that I am a sinner, that I am 
worthless.* The law holds man in bondage; love makes him 

Love is the middle term, the substantial bond, the principle 
of reconciliation between the perfect and the imperfect, the 
sinless and sinful being, the universal and the individual, the 
divine and the human. Love is God himself, and apart from 
it there is no God. Love makes man God, and God man. 
Love strengthens the weak, and weakens the strong, abases 
the high and raises the lowly, idealizes matter and materializes 
spirit. Love is the true unity of God and man, of spirit 
and nature. In love common nature is spirit, and the pre 
eminent spirit is nature. Love is to deny spirit from the 
point of view of spirit, to deny matter from the point of view 
of matter. Love is materialism ; immaterial love is a 
chimsera. In the longing of love after the distant object, the 
abstract idealist involuntarily confirms the truth of sensuousness. 
But love is also the idealism of nature, love is also spirit, 
esprit. Love alone makes the nightingale a songstress; love 
alone gives the plant its corolla. And what wonders does not 
love work in our social life ! What faith, creed, opinion 
separates, love unites. Love even, humorously enough, 
identifies the high noblesse with the people. What the old 
mystics said of God, that he is the highest and yet the com 
monest being, applies in truth to love, and that not a visionary, 
imaginary love no! a real love, a love which has flesh and 
blood, which vibrates as an almighty force through all living. 

Yes, it applies only to the love which has flesh and blood, 
for only this can absolve from the sins which flesh and blood 
commit. A merely moral being cannot forgive what is con 
trary to the law of morality. That which denies the law, is 
denied by the law. The moral judge, who does not infuse 
human blood into his judgment, judges the sinner relentlessly, 
inexorably. Since, then, God is regarded as a sin-pardoning 
being, he is posited, not indeed as an unmoral, but as more than 
a moral being in a word, as a human being. The negation or 
annulling of sin is the negation of abstract moral rectitude, the 

* Omnes peccavimus ..... . Parricidse cum lege cseperunt et illis 

facinus pcena monstravit. Seneca. "The law destroys us." Luther, 
(Th. xvi. s. 320). 


positing of love, mercy, sensuous life. Not abstract beings 
no! only sensuous, living beings, are merciful. Mercy is 
the justice of sensuous life.* Hence, God does not forgive 
the sins of men as the abstract God of the understanding, but 
as man, as the God made flesh, the visible God. God as man 
sins not, it is true, but he knows, he takes on himself, the 
sufferings, the wants, the needs of sensuous beings. The 
blood of Christ cleanses us from our sins in the eyes of God; 
it is only his human blood that makes God merciful, allays 
his anger; that is, our sins are forgiven us, because we are no 
abstract beings, but creatures of flesh and blood.f 

* " Das Rechtsgefiihl der Sinnlichkeit." 

f " This, my God and Lord, has taken upon him my nature, flesh and 
blood such as I have, and has been tempted and has suffered in all things 
like me, but without sin ; therefore he can have pity on my weakness. 
Hebrews v. Luther (Th. xvi. s. 533). "The deeper we can bring Christ 
into the flesh the better." (Ibid. s. 565). " God himself, when he is dealt 
with out of Christ, is a terrible God, for no consolation is found in him, 
but pure anger and disfavour." (Th. xv. s. 298.) 




IT is the consciousness of love by which man reconciles him 
self with God, or rather with his own nature as represented in 
the moral law. The consciousness of the divine love, or what 
is the same thing, the contemplation of God as human, is the 
mystery of the Incarnation. The Incarnation is nothing else 
than the practical, material manifestation of the human nature 
of God. God did not "become man for his own sake; the need, 
the want of man a want which still exists in the religious 
sentiment was the cause of the Incarnation. God became 
man out of mercy: thus he was in himself already a human 
God before he became an actual man; for human want, human 
misery, went to his heart. The Incarnation was a tear of the 
divine compassion, and hence it was only the visible advent of 
a Being having human feelings, and therefore essentially 

If in the Incarnation we stop short at the fact of God becom 
ing man, it certainly appears a surprising, inexplicable, mar 
vellous event. But the incarnate God is only the apparent 
manifestation of deified man ; for the descent of God to man 
is necessarily preceded by the exaltation of man to God. Man 
was already in God, was already God himself, before God 
became man, i. e., showed himself as man.* How otherwise 
could God have become man? The old maxim, ex nihilo 
niliilfit, is applicable here also. A king who has not the wel- 

* " Such descriptions as those in which the Scriptures speak of God as of 
a man, and ascribe to him all that is human, are very sweet and comforting 
namely, that he talks with us as a friend, and of such things as men are 
wont to talk of with each other, that he rejoices, sorrows, and suffers, like 
a man, for the sake of the mystery of the future humanity of Christ."- 
Luther (T. ii. p. 334). 



fare of his subjects at heart, who while seated on his throne 
does not mentally live with them in their dwellings, who, in 
feeling, is not, as the people say, " a common man," such a 
king will not descend bodily from his throne to make his 
people happy by his personal presence. Thus, has not the 
subject risen to be a king, before the king descends to be a 
subject? And if the subject feels himself honoured and made 
happy by the personal presence of his king, does this feeling 
refer merely to the bodily presence, and not rather to the mani 
festation of the disposition, of the philanthropic nature which 
is the cause of the appearance ? But that which in the truth 
of religion is the cause, takes in the consciousness of religion 
the form of a consequence ; and so here the raising of man to 
God is made a consequence of the humiliation or descent of 
God to man. God, says religion, made himself human that 
he might make man divine.* 

That which is mysterious and incomprehensible, i. e., con 
tradictory, in the proposition, " God is or becomes a man," 
arises only from the mingling or confusion of the idea or defi 
nitions of the universal, unlimited, metaphysical being with 
the idea of the religious God, i. e., the conditions of the under 
standing with the conditions of the heart, the emotive nature ; 
a confusion which is the greatest hinderance to the correct 
knowledge of religion. But in fact the idea of the Incarnation 
is nothing more than the human form of a God, who already 
in his nature, in the profoundest depths of his soul, is a merciful 
and therefore a human God. 

The form given to this truth in the doctrine of the church 
is, that it was not the first person of the Godhead who was 
incarnate, but the second, who is the representative of man 
in and before God; the second person being however in 
reality, as will be shown, the sole, true, first person in religion. 
And it is only apart from this distinction of persons, that the 
God-man appears mysterious, incomprehensible, " speculative ;" 
for, considered in connexion with it, the Incarnation is a 

* " Deus homo factus est, ut homo Deus fieret." Augustinus (Serm. 
ad Pop. p. 371, c. 1). In Luther, however, (T. i. p. 334,) there is a passage 
which indicates the true relation. When Moses called man " the image of 
God, the likeness of God," he meant, says Luther, obscurely to intimate 
that " God was to become man." Thus here the incarnation of God is 
clearly enough represented as a consequence of the deification of man. 


necessary, nay, a self-evident consequence. The allegation, 
therefore, that the Incarnation is a purely empirical fact, which 
could be made known only by means of a revelation in the 
theological sense, betrays the most crass religious materialism ; 
for the Incarnation is a conclusion which rests on a very com 
prehensible premiss. But it is equally perverse to attempt to 
deduce the Incarnation from purely speculative, i. e., metaphy 
sical, abstract grounds ; for metaphysics apply only to the first 
person of the Godhead, who does not become incarnate, who is 
not a dramatic person. Such a deduction would at the utmost 
be justifiable if it were meant consciously to deduce from meta 
physics the negation of metaphysics. 

This example clearly exhibits the distinction between the 
method of our philosophy and that of the old speculative 
philosophy. The former does not philosophize concerning the 
Incarnation as a peculiar, stupendous mystery, after the manner 
of speculation dazzled by mystical splendour; on the contrary it 
destroys the illusive supposition of a peculiar supernatural 
mystery ; it criticises the dogma and reduces it to its natural 
elements, immanent in man, to its originating principle and 
central point love. 

The dogma presents to us two things God and love. God 
is love : but what does that mean ? Is God something besides 
love ? a being distinct from love ? Is it as if I said of an 
affectionate human being, he is love itself? Certainly; other 
wise I must give up the name God, which expresses a special 
personal being, a subject in distinction from the predicate. 
Thus love is made something apart : God out of love sent his 
only-begotten Son. Here love recedes and sinks into insigni 
ficance in the dark background God. It becomes merely a 
personal, though an essential, attribute; hence it receives 
both in theory and in feeling, both objectively and subjectively, 
the rank simply of a predicate, not that of a subject, of the 
substance ; it shrinks out of observation as a collateral, an 
accident; at one moment it presents itself to me as some 
thing essential, at another, it vanishes again. God appears 
to me in another form besides that of love; in the form 
of omnipotence, of a severe power not bound by love, a 
power in which, though in a smaller degree, the devils 

So long as love is not exalted into a substance, into an essence, 
so long there lurks in the background of love a subject, who 

D 2 


even without love is something "by himself, an unloving monster, 
a diaholical being, whose personality separable and actually 
separated from love, delights in the blood of heretics and unbe 
lievers, the phantom of religious fanaticism. Nevertheless 
the essential idea of the Incarnation, though enveloped in the 
night of the religious consciousness, is love. Love determined 
God to the renunciation of his divinity.* Not because of his 
Godhead as such, according to which he is the subject in the 
proposition God is love, but because of his love, of the pre 
dicate, is it that he renounced his Godhead ; thus love is a 
higher power and truth than Deity. Love conquers God. It 
was love to which God sacrificed his divine majesty. And 
what sort of love was that ? another than ours ? than that to 
which we sacrifice life and fortune ? Was it the love of him 
self? of himself as God? No ! it was love to man. But is 
not love to man human love ? Can I love man without loving 
him humanly, without loving him as he himself loves, if he 
truly loves ? Would not love be otherwise a devilish love ? 
The devil too loves man, but not for man's sake for his own ; 
thus he loves man out of egotism, to aggrandize himself, to 
extend his power. But God loves man for man's sake, i. e., 
that he may make him good, happy, blessed. Does he not 
then love man, as the true man loves his fellow ? Has love a 
plural? Is it not everywhere like itself? What then is the 
true unfalsified import of the Incarnation, but absolute, pure 
love, without adjunct, without a distinction between divine and 
human love ? For though there is also a self-interested love 
among men, still the true human love, which is alone worthy 
of this name, is that which impels the sacrifice of self to another. 
Who then is our Saviour and Redeemer? God or Love? 
Love ; for God as God has not saved us, but Love, which 

* It was in this sense that the old uncompromising enthusiastic faith 
celebrated the Incarnation. Amor triumphat de Deo, says St. Bernard. 
And only in the sense of a real self-renunciation, self-negation of the God 
head, lies the reality, the vis of the Incarnation ; although this self-nega 
tion is in itself merely a conception of the imagination, for, looked at in 
broad daylight, God does not negative himself 'in the Incarnation, but he 
shews himself as that which he is, as a human being. The fabrications 
which modem rationalistic orthodoxy and pietistic rationalism have ad 
vanced concerning the Incarnation, in opposition to the rapturous concep 
tions and expressions of ancient faith, do not deserve to be mentioned, still 
less controverted. 


transcends the difference between the divine and human per 
sonality. As God has renounced himself out of love, so we, 
out of love, should renounce God ; for if we do not sacrifice 
God to love, we sacrifice love to God, and, in spite of the pre 
dicate of love, we have the God the evil being of religious 

While, however, we have laid open this nucleus of truth in 
the Incarnation, we have at the same time exhibited the 
dogma in its falsity, we have reduced the apparently super 
natural and super-rational mystery to a simple truth inherent 
in human nature : a truth which does not belong to the 
Christian religion alone, but which, implicitly at least, belongs 
more or less to every religion as such. For every religion 
which has any claim to the name, presupposes that God is 
not indifferent to the beings who worship him, that therefore 
what is human is not alien to him, that, as an object of 
human veneration, he is a human God. Every prayer dis 
closes the secret of the Incarnation, every prayer is in fact 
an incarnation of God. In prayer I involve God in human 
distress, I make him a participator in my sorrows and wants. 
God is not deaf to my complaints; he has compassion on 
me; hence he renounces his divine majesty, his exaltation 
above all that is finite and human; he becomes a man with 
man; for if he listens to me, and pities me, he is affected 
by my sufferings. God loves man i.e. God suffers from 
man. Love does not exist without sympathy, sympathy does 
not exist without suffering in common. Have I any sympathy 
for a being without feeling ? No ! I feel only for that 
which has feeling only for that which partakes of my nature, 
for that in which I feel myself, whose sufferings I myself suffer. 
Sympathy presupposes a like nature. The Incarnation Provi 
dence, prayer, are the expression of this identity of nature in 
God and man.* 

It is true that theology, which is pre- occupied with the 
metaphysical attributes of eternity, unconditionedness, un- 
changeableness, and the like abstractions, which express the 
nature of the understanding, theology denies the possibility 

* " Nos scimus affici Deum misericordia nostri et non solum respicere 
lacrymas nostras, sed etiam numerare stillulas, sicut scriptum in Psalmo LVI. 
Filius Dei vere afficitur sensu miseriarum nostraruui." Melancthonis et 
aliorum (Declam. T. iii. p. 286, p. 450). 


that God should suffer, but in so doing it denies the truth of 
religion.* For religion the religious man in the act of 
devotion, believes in a real sympathy of the divine being in 
his sufferings and wants, believes that the will of God can be 
determined by the fervour of prayer, i.e. by the force of feel 
ing, believes in a real, present fulfilment of his desire, wrought 
by prayer. The truly religious man unhesitatingly assigns 
his own feelings to God; God is to him a heart susceptible to 
all that is human. The heart can betake itself only to the 
heart; feeling can appeal only to feeling; it finds consolation 
in itself, in its own nature alone. 

The notion that the fulfilment of prayer has been deter 
mined from eternity, that it was originally included in the 
plan of creation, is the empty, absurd fiction of a mechanical 
mode of thought, which is in absolute contradiction with the 
nature of religion. " We need," says Lavater somewhere, 
and quite correctly according to the religious sentiment, " an 
arbitrary God." Besides, even according to this fiction, God 
is just as much a being determined by man, as in the real, 
present fulfilment consequent on the power of prayer; the 
only difference is, that the contradiction with the unchange- 
ableness and unconditionedness of God that which con 
stitutes the difficulty is thrown back into the deceptive 
distance of the past or of eternity. Whether God decides 
on the fulfilment of my prayer now, on the immediate occasion 
of my offering it, or whether he did decide on it long ago, 
is fundamentally the same thing. 

It is the greatest inconsequence to reject the idea of a God 
who can be determined by prayer, that is, by the force of 
feeling, as an unworthy anthropomorphic idea. If we once 
believe in a being who is an object of veneration, an object of 
prayer, an object of affection, who is providential, who 
takes care of man, in a Providence, which is not conceivable 
without love, in a being, therefore, who is loving, whose motive 

* St. Bernard resorts to a charmingly sophistical play of words : 
" Impassibilis est Deus, sed non incompassibilis, cui proprium est misereri 
semper et parcere." (Sup. Cant. Sermo 26.) As if compassion were not 
suffering the suffering of love, it is true, the suffering of the heart. But 
what does suffer, if not thy sympathising heart ? No love, no suffering. 
The material, the source of suffering, is the universal heart, the common 
bond of all beings. 


of action is love: we also believe in a being, who lias, if not 
an anatomical, yet a psychical human heart. The religious 
mind, as has been said, places everything in God, excepting 
that alone which it despises. The Christians certainly gave 
their God no attributes which contradicted their own moral 
ideas, but they gave him without hesitation, and of necessity, 
the emotions of love, of compassion. And the love which the 
religious mind places in God is not an illusory, imaginary 
love, but a real, true love. God is loved and loves again; 
the divine love is only human love made objective, affirming 
itself. In God love is absorbed in itself as its own ultimate 

It may be objected to the import here assigned to the Incar 
nation, that the Christian Incarnation is altogether peculiar, 
that at least it is different (which is quite true in certain 
respects, as will hereafter be apparent) from the incarnations 
of the heathen deities, whether Greek or Indian. These latter 
are mere products of men or deified men; but in Christianity 
is given the idea of the true God ; here the union of the divine 
nature with the human is first significant and " speculative." 
Jupiter transforms himself into a bull; the heathen incar 
nations are mere fancies. In paganism there is no more in 
the nature of God than in his incarnate manifestation; in 
Christianity, on the contrary, it is God, a separate, super 
human being, who appears as man. But this objection is 
refuted by the remark already made, that even the premiss of 
the Christian Incarnation contains the human nature. God 
loves man; moreover God has a Son; God is a father; the 
relations of humanity are not excluded from God; the human 
is not remote from God, not unknown to him. Thtfs here 
also there is nothing more in the nature of God than in 
the incarnate manifestation of God. In the Incarnation 
religion only confesses, what in reflection on itself, as theo 
logy, it will not admit; namely, that God is an altogether 
human being. The Incarnation, the mystery of the " God- 
man," is therefore no mysterious composition of contraries, 
no synthetic fact, as it is regarded by the speculative re 
ligious philosophy, which has a particular delight in con 
tradiction; it is an analytic fact, a human word with a 
human meaning. If there be a contradiction here, it lies 
before the incarnation and out of it; in the union of provi 
dence, of love, with deity ; for if this love is a real love, it is 


not essentially different from our love, there are only our 
limitations to be abstracted from it; and thus the Incarnation 
is only the strongest, deepest, most palpable, open-hearted 
expression of this providence, this love. Love knows not 
how to make its object happier than by rejoicing it with its 
personal presence, by letting itself be seen. To see the invi 
sible benefactor face to face is the most ardent desire of love. 
To see is a divine act. Happiness lies in the mere sight of 
the beloved one. The glance is the certainty of love. And 
the Incarnation has no other significance, no other effect, than 
the indubitable certitude of the love of God to man. Love 
remains, but the incarnation upon the earth passes away: the 
appearance was limited by time and place, accessible to few; 
but the essence, the nature which was manifested, is eternal 
and universal. We can no longer believe in the manifestation 
for its own sake, but only for the sake of the thing manifested ; 
for to us there remains no immediate presence but that of 

The clearest, most irrefragable proof, that man in religion 
contemplates himself as the object of the divine Being, as the 
end of the divine activity, that thus in religion he has relation 
only to his own nature, only to himself, the clearest, most 
irrefragable proof of this is the love of God to man, the 
basis and central point of religion. God for the sake of man 
empties himself of his Godhead, lays aside his Godhead. 
Herein lies the elevating influence of the Incarnation ; the 
highest, the perfect being humiliates, lowers himself for the 
sake of man. Hence, in God I learn to estimate my own 
nature ; I have value in the sight of God ; the divine sig- 
nifican'ce of my nature is become evident to me. How 
can the worth of man be more strongly expressed than when 
God, for man's sake, becomes a man, when man is the end, 
the object of the divine love ? The love of God to man 
is an essential condition of the divine Being : God is a 
God who loves me who loves man in general. Here lies 
the emphasis, the fundamental feeling of religion. The 
love of God makes me loving ; the love of God to man 
is the cause of man's love to God ; the divine love causes, 
awakens human love. " We love God because he first loved 
us." What, then, is it that I love in God ? Love : love to 
man. But when I love and worship the love with which God 
loves man, do I not love man ; is not my love of God, though 


indirectly, love of man ? Tf God loves man, is not man, then, 
the very substance of God ? That which I love is it not 
my inmost being ? Have I a heart when I do not love ? 
No ! love only is the heart of man. But w T hat is love without 
the thing loved ? Thus what I love is my heart, the substance 
of my being, my nature. Why does man grieve why does 
he lose pleasure in life, when he has lost the beloved 
object ? Why ? because with the beloved object he has lost 
his heart, the activity of his affections, the principle of life. 
Thus, if God loves man, man is the heart of God the welfare 
of man his deepest anxiety. If man, then, is the object of 
God, is not man, in God, an object to himself? is not the con 
tent of the divine nature the human nature ? If God is love, 
is not the essential content of this love, man ? Is not the love 
of God to man the basis and central point of religion the 
love of man to himself made an object, contemplated as the 
highest objective truth, as the highest Being to man ? Is not 
then the proposition, "God loves man" an orientalism (religion 
is essentially oriental), which in plain speech means, the highest 
is the love of man ? 

The truth to which, by means of analysis, we have here 
reduced the mystery of the Incarnation, has also been recognised 
even in the religious consciousness. Thus Luther, for example, 
says, " He who can truly conceive such a thing (namely, the 
incarnation of God) in his heart, should, for the sake of the 
flesh and blood which sits at the right hand of God, bear love 
to all flesh and blood here upon the earth, and never more be 
able to be angry with any man. The gentle manhood of 
Christ our God, should at a glance fill all hearts with joy, so 
that never more could an angry, unfriendly thought come 
therein yea, every man ought, out of great joy, to be tender 
to his fellow-man, for the sake of that our flesh and blood." 
" This is a fact which should move us to great joy and blissful 
hope, that we are thus honoured above all creatures, even above 
the angels, so that we can with truth boast, my own flesh and 
blood sits at the right hand of God, and reigns over all. Such 
honour has no creature, not even an angel. This ought to 
be a furnace that should melt us all into one heart, and should 
create such a fervour in us men that we should heartily love 
each other." But that which in the truth of religion is the 
essence of the fable, the chief thing, is to the religious con* 
sciousness only the moral of the fable, a collateral thing. 

D 3 



AN essential condition of the incarnate, or, what is the same 
thing, the human God, namely, Christ, is the Passion. Love 
attests itself hy suffering. All thoughts and feelings which 
are immediately associated with Christ, concentrate themselves 
in the idea of the Passion. God as God is the sum of all 
human perfection ; God as Christ is the sum of all human 
misery. The heathen philosophers celebrated activity, especially 
the spontaneous activity of the intelligence, as the highest, the 
divine ; the Christians consecrated passivity, even placing 
it in God. If God as actus purus, as pure activity, is the 
God of abstract philosophy; so, on the other hand, Christ, 
the God of the Christians, is the passio pura, pure suffering 
the highest metaphysical thought, the etre supreme, of the heart. 
For what makes more impression on the heart than suffering ? 
especially the suffering of one who considered in himself is 
free from suffering, exalted above it ; the suffering of the in 
nocent, endured purely for the good of others, the suffering of 
love, self-sacrifice ? But for the very reason that the history 
of the Passion is the history which most deeply affects the 
human heart, or let us rather say the heart, in general for it 
would be a ludicrous mistake in man to attempt to conceive any 
other heart than the human, it follows undeniably that 
nothing else is expressed in that history, nothing else is made 
an object in it, but the nature of the heart, that it is not an 
invention of the understanding or the poetic faculty, but of the 
heart. The heart, however, does not invent in the same way 
as the free imagination or intelligence ; it has a passive, recep 
tive relation to what it produces ; all that proceeds from it 
seems to it given from without, takes it by violence, works 
with the force of irresistible necessity. The heart overcomes, 
masters man ; he who is once in its power is possessed as it 
were by his demon, by his God. The heart knows no other 


God, no more excellent being than itself, than a God whose 
name may indeed be another, but whose nature, whose sub 
stance, is the nature of the heart. And out of the heart, out 
of the inward impulse to do good, to live and die for man, out 
of the divine instinct of benevolence which desires* to make all 
happy, and excludes none, not even the most abandoned and 
abject, out of the moral duty of benevolence in the highest 
sense, as having become an inward necessity, i.e., a movement 
of the heart, out of the human nature, therefore, as it reveals 
itself through the heart, has sprung what is best, what is true 
in Christianity its essence purified from theological dogmas 
and contradictions. 

For, according to the principles which we have already 
developed, that which in religion is the predicate, we must 
make the subject, and that which in religion is a subject we 
must make a predicate, thus inverting the oracles of religion ; 
and by this means we arrive at the truth. God suffers 
suffering is the predicate but for men, for others, not for 
himself. What does that mean in plain speech ? nothing else 
than this: to suffer for others is divine; he who suffers for 
others, who lays down his life for them, acts divinely, is a God 
to men.* 

The passion of Christ, however, represents not only moral, 
voluntary suffering, the suffering of love, the power of sacrificing 
self for the good of others ; it represents also suffering as such, 
suffering in so far as it is an expression of passibility in 
general. The Christian religion is so little superhuman, that 
it even sanctions human weakness. The heathen philosopher, 
on hearing tidings of the death of his child, exclaims : " I 
knew that he was mortal." Christ, on the contrary, at least 
in the Bible, sheds tears over the death of Lazarus, a death 
which he nevertheless knew to be only an apparent one. While 
Socrates empties the cup of poison with unshaken soul, Christ 

* Eeligion speaks by example. Example is the law of religion. What 
Christ did, is law. Christ suffered for others ; therefore, we should do 
likewise. " Quse necessitas fuit ut sic exinaniret se, sic humiliaret se, sic 
abbreviaret se Dominus majestatis ; nisi ut vos similiterfaciatis?" Bernardus 
(in Die nat. Domini). " We ought studiously to consider the example of 

Christ That would move us and incite us, so that we from our 

hearts should willingly help and serve other people, even though it might 
be hard, and we must suffer on account of it." Luther (T. xv. p. 40). 


exclaims : " If it be possible, let tbis cup pass from me."* 
Christ is in tbis respect the self- confession of human sensibility. 
In opposition to the heathen, and in particular the stoical 
principle, with its rigorous energy of will and self-sustainedness, 
the Christiaii involves the consciousness of his own sensitive 
ness and susceptibility in the consciousness of God; he finds 
it, if only it be no sinful weakness, not denied, not condemned 
in God. 

To suffer is the highest command of Christianity the 
history of Christianity is the history of the Passion of 
Humanity. While amongst the heathens the shout of sensual 
pleasure mingled itself in the worship of the gods, amongst 
the Christians, we mean of course the ancient Christians, 
God is served with sighs and tears.f But as where sounds 
of sensual pleasure make a part of the cultus, it is a sensual 
God, a God of life, who is worshipped, as indeed these shouts 
of joy are only a symbolical definition of the nature of the 
gods to whom this jubilation is acceptable; so also the sighs 
of Christians are tones which proceed from the inmost soul, 
the inmost nature of their God. The God expressed by the 
cultus, whether this be an external, or, as with the Christians, 
an inward spiritual worship, not the God of sophistical 
theology, is the true God of man. But the Christians, we 
mean of course the ancient Christians, believed that they 
rendered the highest honour to their God by tears, the tears of 
repentance and yearning. Thus tears are the light-reflecting 
drops which mirror the nature of the Christian's God. But a 
God who has pleasure in tears, expresses nothing else than 
the nature of the heart. It is true that the theory of the 
Christian religion says : Christ has done all for us, has redeemed 
us, has reconciled us with God; and from hence the inference 
may be drawn: Let us be of a joyful mind and disposition; 
what need have we to trouble ourselves as to how we shall 
reconcile ourselves with God ? we are reconciled already. But 
the imperfect tense in which the fact of suffering is expressed, 

* " Haevent plerique hoc loco. Ego autem non solum excusandum non 
puto, sed etiam nusquam magis pietatem ejus majestatemque demiror. 
Minus enim contulerat mihi, nisi meum suscepisset affectum. Ergo pro 
me doluit, qui pro se iiihil, quod doleret." Ambrosius (Exposit. in 
Lucas Ev. 1. x. c. 22). 

t " Quando enim illi (Deo) appropinquare auderemus in sua impassi- 
bilitate mauenti ?" Bernardus (Tract, de xii. Grad. Humil. et Superb.). 


makes a deeper, a more enduring impression, than the perfect 
tense which expresses the fact of redemption. The redemption 
is only the result of the suffering ; the suffering is the cause 
of the redemption. Hence the suffering takes deeper root in 
the feelings ; the suffering makes itself an object of imitation ; 
not so the redemption. If God himself suffered for my sake, 
how can I be joyful, how can I allow myself any gladness, at 
least on this corrupt earth, which was the theatre of his suffer 
ing ?* Ought I to fare better than God ? Ought I not, 
then, to make his sufferings my own ? Is not what God my 
Lord does, my model ? Or shall I share only the gain, and 
not the cost also ? Do I know merely that he has redeemed 
me ? Do I not also know the history of his suffering ? 
Should it be an object of cold remembrance to me, or even an 
object of rejoicing, because it has purchased my salvation ? 
Who can think so who can wish to be exempt from the 
sufferings of his God ? 

The Christian religion is the religion of suffering.f The 
images of the crucified one which we still meet with in all 
churches, represent not the Saviour, but only the crucified, the 
suffering Christ. Even the self- crucifixions among the Chris 
tians are, psychologically, a deep-rooted consequence of their 
religious views. How should not he who has always the image 
of the crucified one in his mind, at length contract the desire 
to crucify either himself or another ? At least w r e have as 
good a warrant for this conclusion as Augustine and other 
fathers of the church for their reproach against the heathen 
religion, that the licentious religious images of the heathens 
provoked and authorized licentiousness. 

God suffers, means in truth nothing else than : God is a 
heart. The heart is the source, the centre of all suffering. 
A being without suffering is a being without a heart. The 
mystery of the suffering God is therefore the mystery of 
feeling, sensibility. A suffering God is a feeling, sensitive 
God.J But the proposition : God is a feeling Being, is only 

* " Deus meus pendet in patibulo et ego voluptati operam dabo ?" (Form. 
Hon. Vitse. Among the spurious writings of St. Bernard.) " Memoriacrucifixi 
crucifigat in te carnem tuam/' Joh. Gerhard (Medit. sacrse, M. 37). 

f " It is better to suffer evil, than to do good." Luther (T. iv. s. 15). 

J " Pati voluit, ut compati disceret, miser fieri, ut misereri disceret." 
Bernhard (de Grad.). " Miserere iiostri, quoniam camis imbecillitatem, tu ipse 
earn passus, expertus es." Clemens Alex. Psedag. 1. i. c. 8. 


the religious periphrase of the proposition : feeling is absolute, 
divine in its nature. 

Man has the consciousness not only of a spring of activity, 
but also of a spring of suffering in himself. I feel ; and I 
feel feeling (not merely will and thought, which are only too 
often in opposition to me and my feelings), as belonging to 
my essential being, and, though the source of all suffer 
ings and sorrows, as a glorious, divine power and perfection. 
What would man be without feeling ? It is the musical 
power in man. But what would man be without music ? 
Just as man has a musical faculty and feels an inward necessity 
to breathe out his feelings in song ; so, by a like necessity, he 
in religious sighs and tears, streams forth the nature of 
feeling as an objective, divine nature. 

Religion is human nature reflected, mirrored in itself. That 
which exists has necessarily a pleasure, a joy in itself, loves 
itself, and loves itself justly ; to blame it because it loves itself 
is to reproach it because it exists. To exist is to assert one 
self, to affirm oneself, to love oneself; he to whom life is a 
burthen, rids himself of it. Where, therefore, feeling is not 
depreciated and repressed, as with the Stoics, where existence 
is awarded to it, there also is religious power and significance 
already conceded to it, there also is it already exalted to that 
stage in which it can mirror and reflect itself, in which it can 
project its own image as God. God is the mirror of man. 

That which has essential value for man, which he esteems 
the perfect, the excellent, in which he has true delight, that 
alone is God to him. If feeling seems to thee a glorious 
attribute, it is then, per se, a divine attribute to thee. There 
fore, the feeling, sensitive man believes only in a feeling, sensi 
tive God, i.e., he believes only in the truth of his own existence 
and nature, for he can believe in nothing else than that which 
is involved in his own nature. His faith is the consciousness 
of that which is holy to him ; but that alone is holy to man 
which lies deepest within him, which is most peculiarly his 
own, the basis, the essence of his individuality. To the 
feeling man a God without feeling is an empty, abstract, 
negative God, i.e., nothing ; because that is wanting to him 
which is precious and sacred to man. God is for man the 
common-place book where he registers his highest feelings and 
thoughts, the genealogical tree on which are entered the 
names that are dearest and most sacred to him. 


It is a sign of an undiscriminating good-nature, a womanish 
instinct, to gather together and then to preserve tenaciously all 
that we have gathered, not to trust anything to the waves of 
forgetfulness, to the chance of memory, in short not to trust 
ourselves and learn to know what really has value for us. The 
freethinker is liahle to the danger of an unregulated, dissolute 
life. The religious man, who binds together all things in one, 
does not lose himself in sensuality ; but for that reason he is 
exposed to the danger of illiberality, of spiritual selfishness 
and greed. Therefore, to the religious man at least, the irre 
ligious or un-religious man appears lawless, arbitrary, haughty, 
frivolous ; not because that which is sacred to the former is 
not also in itself sacred to the latter, but only because that 
which the un-religious man holds in his head merely, the reli 
gious man places out of and above himself as an object, and 
hence recognises in himself the relation of a formal subordi 
nation. The religious man, having a common-place book, 
a nucleus of aggregation, has an aim, and having an aim 
he has firm standing-ground. Not mere will as such, not 
vague knowledge only activity with a purpose, which is the 
union of theoretic and practical activity, gives man a moral 
basis and support, i.e., character. Every man, therefore, must 
place before himself a God, i.e., an aim, a purpose. The aim 
is the conscious, voluntary, essential impulse of life, the glance 
of genius, the focus of self-knowledge, the unity of the 
material and spiritual in the individual man. He who has 
an aim, has a law over him ; he does not merely guide himself; 
he is guided. He who has no aim, has no home, no sanctuary ; 
aimlessness is the greatest unhappiness. Even he who has 
only common aims, gets on better, though he may not be better, 
than he who has no aim. An aim sets limits ; but limits are 
the mentors of virtue. He who has an aim, an aim which is 
in itself true and essential, has, eo ipso, a religion, if not in 
the narrow sense of common pietism, yet and this is the 
only point to be considered in the sense of reason, in the 
sense of the universal, the only true love. 




IF a God without feeling, without a capability of suffering, will 
not suffice to man as a feeling, suffering being, neither will a 
God with feeling only, a God without intelligence and will. 
Only a being who comprises in himself the whole man can 
satisfy the whole man. Man's consciousness of himself in his 
totality is the consciousness of the Trinity. The Trinity knits 
together the qualities or powers, which were before regarded 
separately, into unity, and thereby reduces the universal 
being of the understanding, i. e., God as God, to a special 
being, a special faculty. 

That which theology designates as the image, the simi 
litude of the Trinity, we must take as the thing itself, the 
essence, the archetype, the original; by this means we shall 
solve the enigma. The so-called images by which it has been 
sought to illustrate the Trinity, and make it comprehensible, 
are, principally: mind, understanding, memory, will, love 
mens, intellectus, memoria, voluntas, amor or caritas. 

God thinks, God loves; and, moreover, he thinks, he loves 
himself; the object thought, known, loved, is God himself. 
The objectivity of self- consciousness is the first thing we 
meet with in the Trinity. Self-consciousness necessarily urges 
itself upon man as something absolute. Existence is for him 
one with self-consciousness; existence with self-consciousness 
is for him existence simply. If I do not know that I exist, 
it is all one whether I exist or not. Self-consciousness is for 
man is, in fact, in itself absolute. A God who knows not 
his own existence, a God without consciousness, is no God. 
Man cannot conceive himself as without consciousness ; hence 
he cannot conceive God as without it. The divine self-con- 


sciousness is nothing else than the consciousness of con 
sciousness as an absolute or divine essence. 

But this explanation is by no means exhaustive. On the 
contrary, we should be proceeding very arbitrarily if we sought 
to reduce and limit the mystery of the Trinity to the proposi 
tion just laid down. Consciousness, understanding, will, love, 
in the sense of abstract essences or qualities, belong only to 
abstract philosophy. But religion is man's consciousness of 
himself in his concrete or living totality, in which the identity 
of self-consciousness exists only as the pregnant, complete 
unity of I and thou. 

Religion, at least the Christian, is abstraction from the 
world ; it is essentially inward. The religious man leads a life 
withdrawn from the world, hidden in God, still, void of worldly 
joy. He separates himself from the world, not only in the 
ordinary sense, according to which the renunciation of the 
world belongs to every true, earnest man, but also in that 
wider sense which science gives to the word, when it calls 
itself world-wisdom (welt-weisheit) ; but he thus separates 
himself, only because God is a Being separate from the world, 
an extra and supramundane Being, i. e., abstractly and 
philosophically expressed, the non-existence of the world. 
God as an extramundane being, is however nothing else 
than the nature of man, withdrawn from the world and 
concentrated in itself, freed from all worldly ties and entangle 
ments, transporting itself above the world, and positing itself 
in this condition as a real objective being; or, nothing else 
than the consciousness of the power to abstract oneself from 
all that is external; and to live for and with oneself alone, 
under the form which this power takes in religion, namely, 
that of a being distinct, apart from man.* God as God, as 
a simple being, is the being absolutely alone, solitary absolute 

* " Dei essentia est extra omnes creaturas, sicut ab seterno fuit Deus in se 
ipso ; ab omnibus ergo creaturis amorem tuum abstrahas," John Gerhard 
(Medit. sacrae, M. 31). " If thou wouldst have the Creator, thou must do 
without the creature. The less of the creature, the more of God. There 
fore, abjure all creatures, with all their consolations." J. Tauler (Postilla. 
Hamburg, 1621. p. 312). " If a man cannot say in his heart with truth : 
God and I are alone in the world there is nothing else, he has no peace 
in himself." G. Arnold (Von Verschmahung der Welt. Wahre Abbild 
der Ersten Christen, L. 4, c. 2, 7). 


solitude and self-sufficingness; for that only can be solitary 
which is self- sufficing. To be able to be solitary is a sign 
of character and thinking power. Solitude is the want of the 
thinker, society the want of the heart. We can think alone, 
but we can love only with another. In love we are dependent, 
for it is the need of another being; we are independent only 
in the solitary act of thought. Solitude is self-sufficing- 

But from a solitary God the essential need, of duality, of 
love, of community, of the real, completed self -consciousness, 
of the alter ego, is excluded. This want is therefore satisfied 
by religion thus: in the still solitude of the divine being is 
placed another, a second, different from God as to personality, 
but identical with him in essence, God the Son, in distinc 
tion from God the Father. God the Father is I, God the Son 
Thou. The / is understanding, the Thou love. But Love 
with understanding and understanding with love, is mind, and 
mind is the totality of man as such the total man. 

Participated life is alone true, self- satisfying, divine life : 
this simple thought, this truth, natural, immanent in man, is the 
secret, the supernatural mystery of the Trinity. But religion 
expresses this truth, as it does every other, in an indirect man 
ner, i. e., inversely, for it here makes a general truth into a 
particular one, the true subject into a predicate, when it says: 
God is a participated life, a life of love and friendship. The 
third person in the Trinity expresses nothing further than the 
love of the two divine Persons towards each other ; it is the 
unity of the Son and the Father, the idea of community, 
strangely enough regarded in its turn as* a special personal 

The Holy Spirit owes its personal existence only to a name, 
a word. The earliest Fathers of the Church are well known to 
have identified the Spirit with the Son. Even later, its dog 
matic personality wants consistency. He is the love with which 
God loves himself and man, and on the other hand, he is the 
love with which man loves God and men. Thus he is the 
identity of God and man, made objective according to the usual 
mode of thought in religion, namely, as in itself a distinct being. 
But for us this unity or identity is already involved in the idea 
of the Father, and yet more in that of the Son. Hence we need 
not make the Holy Spirit a separate object of our analysis. 
Only this one remark further. In so far as the Holy Spirit 
represents the subjective phase, he is properly the representa- 


tion of the religious sentiment to itself, the representation 
of religious emotion, of religious enthusiasm, or the personifi 
cation, the rendering objective of religion in religion. The 
Holy Spirit is therefore the sighing creature, the yearning of 
the creature after God. 

But that there are in fact only two Persons in the Trinity, 
the third representing, as has heen said, only love, is involved 
in this, that to the strict idea of love two suffice. With two 
we have the principle of multiplicity and all its essential results. 
Two is the principle of multiplicity, and can therefore stand as 
its complete substitute. If several Persons were posited, the 
force of love would only be weakened it would be dispersed. 
But love and the heart are identical; the heart is no special 
power ; it is the man who loves, and in so far as he loves. The 
second Person is therefore the self-assertion of the human heart 
as the principle of duality, of participated life, it is warmth ; 
the Father is light, although light was chiefly a predicate of the 
Son, because in him the Godhead first became clear, compre 
hensible. But notwithstanding this, light as a super- terrestrial 
element may be ascribed to the Father, the representative of the 
Godhead as such, the cold being of the intelligence; and 
warmth, as a terrestrial element, to the Son. God as the Son 
first gives warmth to man ; here God, from an object of the 
intellectual eye, of the indifferent sense of light, becomes an 
object of feeling, of affection, of enthusiasm, of rapture ; but 
only because the Son is himself nothing else than the glow of 
love, enthusiasm.* God as the Son- is the primitive incarna 
tion, the primitive self-renunciation of God, the negation of 
God in God ; for as the Son he is a finite being, because he exists 
a b alio, he has a source, whereas the Father has no source, he 
exists a se. Thus in the second Person the essential attribute 
of the Godhead, the attribute of self- existence, is given up. 
But God the . Father himself begets the Son ; thus he re 
nounces his rigorous, exclusive divinity ; he humiliates, lowers 
himself, evolves within himself the principle of finiteness, of 
dependent existence ; in the Son he becomes man, not 
indeed, in the first instance, as to the outward form, but as to 
the inward nature. And for this reasou. it is as the Son 

* " Exigit ergo Deus timeri ut Dominus, honorari ut pater, ut sponsus 
amari. Quid in his praestat, quid eminet? Amor." Bernardus (Sup. 
Cant. Serm. 83). 


that God first becomes the object of man, the object of feeling, 
of the heart. 

The heart comprehends only what springs from the heart. 
From the character of the subjective disposition and impres 
sions the conclusion is infallible as to the character of the 
object. The pure, free understanding denies the Son, not so 
the understanding determined by feeling, overshadowed by the 
heart ; on the contrary, it finds in the Son the depths of the 
Godhead, because in him it finds feeling, which in and by itself 
is something dark, obscure, and therefore appears to man a 
mystery. The Son lays hold on the heart, because the true 
Father of the divine Son is the human heart,* and the Son 
himself nothing else than the divine heart, i. e., the human 
heart become objective to itself as a divine Being. 

A God, who has not in himself the quality of finiteness, the 
principle of concrete existence, the essence of the feeling of 
dependence, is no God for a finite, concrete being. The reli 
gious man cannot love a God who has not the essence of love 
in himself, neither can man, or, in general, any finite being be 
an object to a God who has not in himself the ground, the 
-principle of finiteness. To such a God there is wanting the 
sense, the understanding, the sympathy for finiteness. How 
can God be the Father of men, how can he love other beings 
subordinate to himself, if he has not in himself a subordinate 
being, a Son, if he does not know what love is, so to speak, 
from his own experience, in relation to himself ? The single 
man takes far less interest in the family sorrows of another than 
he who himself has family ties. Thus God the Father loves 
men only in the Son and for the sake of the Son. The love to 
man is derived from the love to the Son. 

The Father and Son in the Trinity are therefore father and 
son not in a figurative sense, but in a strictly literal sense. 
The Father is a real father in relation to the Son, the Son is 
a real son in relation to the Father, or to God as the Father. 
The essential personal distinction between them consists only 
in this, that the one begets, the other is begotten. If this na 
tural empirical condition is taken away, their personal exist 
ence and reality are annihilated. The Christians we mean 

* Just as the feminine spirit of Catholicism in distinction from Pro 
testantism, whose principle is the masculine God, the masculine spirit 
is the mother of God. 


of course the Christians of former days, who would with diffi 
culty recognise the worldly, frivolous, pagan Christians of the 
modern world as their brethren in Christ substituted for 
the natural love and unity immanent in man, a purely 
religious love and unity; they rejected the real life of 
the family, the intimate bond of love which is naturally moral, 
as an undivine, unheavenly, i. e., in truth, a worthless thing. But 
in compensation they had a Father and Son in God, who em 
braced each other with heartfelt love, with thati ntense love 
which natural relationship alone inspires. On this account the 
mystery of the Trinity was to the ancient Christians an object of 
unbounded wonder, enthusiasm and rapture, because here the 
satisfaction of those profoundest human wants which in reality, 
in life, they denied, became to them an object of contemplation 
in God.* 

It was therefore quite in order, that to complete the divine 
family, the bond of love between Father and Son, a third, and 
that a feminine person, was received into heaven ; for the 
personality of the Holy Spirit is a too vague and precarious 
a too obviously poetic personification of the mutual love of 
the Father and Son, to serve as the third complementary being^ 
It is true that the Virgin Mary was not so placed between the 
Father and Son as to imply that the Father had begotten the 
Son through her, because the sexual relation was regarded by 
the Christians as something unholy and sinful; but it is 
enough that the maternal principle was associated with the 
Father and Son. 

It is in fact difficult to perceive why the Mother should be 
something unholy, i. e., unworthy of God, when once God is 
Father and Son. Though it is held that the Father is not a 
Father in the natural sense that, on the contrary, the Divine 
generation is quite different from the natural and human still 
he remains a Father, and a real, not a nominal or symbolical 
Father, in relation to the Son. And the idea of the Mother of 
God, which now appears so strange to us, is therefore not 
really more strange or paradoxical, than the idea of the Son of 
God, is not more in contradiction with the general, abstract 
definition of God than the Sonship. On the contrary, the 

* " Dum Patris et Filii proprietates communionemque delectabilem iiitueor, 
nihil delectabilius in illis invenio, quam mutuum amoris affectum." An- 
selmus (in Eisner's Gesch. d. Phil. II. B. Anh. p. 18). 


Virgin Mary fits in perfectly with the relations of the Trinity, 
since she conceives without man the Son whom the Father 
begets without woman ;* so that thus the Holy Virgin is a 
necessary, inherently requisite antithesis to the Father in the 
bosom of the Trinity. Moreover we have, if not in concrete) 
and explicitly, yet in abstracto and implicitly, the feminine 
principle already in the Son. The Son is the mild, gentle, 
forgiving, conciliating being the womanly sentiment of God. 
God, as the Father, is the generator, the active, the principle 
of masculine spontaneity ; but the Son is begotten, without 
himself begetting, Deus genitus, the passive, suffering, receptive 
being ; he receives his existence from the Father. The Son, 
as a Son, of course not as God, is dependent on the Father, 
subject to his authority. The Son is thus the feminine feeling 
of dependence in the Godhead ; the Son implicitly urges upon 
us the need of a real feminine being.f 

The son I mean the natural, human son considered as 
such, is an intermediate being between the masculine nature of 
the father and the feminine nature of the mother ; he is, as it 
were, still half a man, half a woman, inasmuch as he has not the 
full, rigorous consciousness of independence which characterizes 
the man, and feels himself drawn rather to the mother than to 
the father. The love of the son to the mother is the first 
love of the masculine being for the feminine. The love of 
man to woman, the love of the youth for the maiden, receives 
its religious its sole truly religious consecration in the love 
of the son to the mother ; the son's love for his mother is 
the first yearning of man towards woman his first humbling 
of himself before her. 

Necessarily, therefore, the idea of the Mother of God is 
associated with the idea of the Son of God, the same 
heart that needed the one needed the other also. Where 
the Son is, the Mother cannot be absent ; the Son is 

* " Natus est de Patre semper et matre semel ; de Patre sine sexu, de matre 
sine usu. Apud patrem quippe defuit concipientis uterus ; apud matrem 
defuit seminantis amplexus." Augustinus (Serm. ad. Pop. p. 372, c. 1, Ed. 
Bened. Antw. 1701). 

f In Jewish mysticism, God, according to one school, is a masculine, 
the Holy Spirit a feminine principle, out of whose intermixture arose the 
Son, and with him the world. Gfrorer, Jahrb., d. H. i. Abth. p. 332-34. 
The Herrnhuters also called the Holy Spirit the mother of the Saviour. 


the only begotten of the Father, but the Mother is the con 
comitant of the Son. The Son is a substitute for the Mother 
to the Father, but not so the Father to the Son. To the Son 
the Mother is indispensable ; the heart of the Son is the heart 
of the Mother. Why did God become man only through 
woman ? Could not the Almighty have appeared as a man 
amongst men in another manner immediately ? Why did 
the Son betake himself to the bosom of the Mother ?* For 
what other reason, than because the Son is the yearning after 
the Mother, because his womanly, tender heart, found a 
corresponding expression only in a feminine body ? It is true 
that the Son, as a natural man, dwells only temporarily in the 
shrine of this body, but the impressions which he here receives 
are inextinguishable ; the Mother is never out of the mind and 
heart of the son. If then the worship of the Son of God is 
no idolatry, the worship of the Mother of God is no idolatry. 
If herein we perceive the love of God to us, that he gave us his 
only begotten Son, i.e., that which was dearest to him, for our 
salvation, we can perceive this love still better when we find 
in God the beating of a mother's heart. The highest and 
deepest love is the mother's love. The father consoles himself 
for the loss of his son ; he has a stoical principle within him. 
The mother, on the contrary, is inconsolable ; she is the 
sorrowing element, that which cannot be indemnified the true 
in love. 

Where faith in the Mother of God sinks, there also sinks 
faith in the Son of God, and in God as the Father. The 
Father is a truth only where the Mother is a truth. Love is in 
and by itself essentially feminine in its nature. The belief in 
the love of God is the belief in the feminine principle as 
divine.* Love apart from living nature is an anomaly, a 
phantom. Behold in love the holy necessity and depth of 
Nature ! 

Protestantism has set aside the Mother of God ; but this 
deposition of woman has been severely avenged.f The arms 

* " For it could not have been difficult or impossible to God to bring his 
Son into the world without a mother; but it was His will to use the 
woman for that end." Luther (T. ii. p. 348). ^ 

f In the Concordienbuch, Erklar. Art. 8, and in the Apol. of the Augsburg 
Confession, Mary is nevertheless still called the " Blessed Virgin, who 


which it has used against the Mother of God have turned 
against itself, against the Son of God, against the whole 
Trinity. He who has once offered up the Mother of God to 
the understanding, is not far from sacrificing the mystery of 
the Son of God as an anthropomorphism. The anthropomor 
phism is certainly veiled when the feminine "being is excluded, 
but only veiled not removed. It is true that Protestantism 
had no need of the heavenly bride, because it received with 
open arms the earthly bride. But for that very reason it 
ought to have been consequent and courageous enough to give 
up not only the Mother, but the Son and the Father. Only 
he who has no earthly parents needs heavenly ones. The 
triune God is the God of Catholicism; he has a profound, 
heartfelt, necessary, truly religious significance, only in anti 
thesis to the negation of all substantial bonds, in antithesis to 
the life of the anchorite, the monk, and the nun.* The triune 
God has a substantial meaning only where there is an abstrac 
tion from the substance of real life. The more empty life is, 
the fuller, the more concrete is God. The impoverishing of 
the real world, and the enriching of God, is one act. Only the 
poor man has a rich God,, God springs out of the feeling of a 
want; what man is in need of, whether this be a definite and 
therefore conscious, or an unconscious need, that is God. 
Thus the disconsolate feeling of a void, of loneliness, needed 
a God in whom there is society, a union of beings fervently 
loving each other. 

Here we have the true explanation of the fact, that the 
Trinity has in modern times lost first its practical, and ulti 
mately its theoretical significance. 

was truly the mother of God, and yet remained a virgin," "worthy of all 

* "Sit monachus quasi Melchisedec sine patre, sine matre, sine genealogia: 
neque patrem sibi vocet super terram. Imo sic existimet, quasi ipse sit 

solus et Deus. (Specul. Monach. Pseudo-Bernard.) Melchisedec 

refeitur ad exemplum, ut tanquam sine patre et sine matre sacerdos esse 
debeat. ' ' Ambrosius . 



THE essential significance of the Trinity is, however, concen 
trated in the idea of the second Person. The warm interest 
of Christians in the Trinity has heen, in the main, only an 
interest in the Son of God.* The fierce contention concerning 
the Homousios and Homoiousios was not an empty one, 
although it turned upon a letter. The point in question was 
the co -equality and divine dignity of the second Person, and 
therefore the honour of the Christian religion itself; for its 
essential, characteristic ohject is the second Person; and that 
which is essentially the ohject of a religion is truly, essentially 
its God. The real God of any religion is the so-called Medi 
ator, because he alone is the immediate ohject of religion. He 
who, instead of applying to God, applies to a saint, does so only 
on the assumption that the saint has all power with God, 
that what he prays for, i.e., wishes and wills, God readily per 
forms ; that thus God is entirely in the hands of the saint. 
Supplication is the means, under the guise of humility and 
submission, of exercising one's power and superiority over 
another being. That to which my mind first turns, is also in 
truth the first being to me. I turn to the saint, not because 
the saint is dependent on God, but because God is dependent 
on the saint, because God is determined and ruled by the 
prayers, i. e., by the wish or heart of the saint. The distinc 
tions which the Catholic theologians made between latreia, 
doulia, and hyperdoulia, are absurd, groundless sophisms. 
The God in the background of the Mediator is only an 
abstract, inert conception, the conception or idea of the God 
head in general ; and it is not to reconcile us with this idea, 

* " Negas ergo Deum, si non omnia filio, quaB Dei sunt, deferentur." Am- 
brosius de Fide ad Gratianum, 1. iii. c. 7. On the same ground the Latin 
Church adhered so tenaciously to the dogma that the Holy Spirit proceeded 
not from the Father alone, as the Greek Church maintained, but from the 
Son also. See on this subject J. G. Walchii, Hist. Contr. Gr. et Lat. de 
Proc. Spir. S. Jenae, 1751. 



but to remove it to a distance, to negative it, because it is no 
object for religion, that the Mediator interposes.* God above 
the Mediator is nothing else than the cold understanding above 
the heart, like Fate above the Olympic gods. 

Man, as an emotional and sensuous being, is governed and 
made happy only by images, by sensible representations. Mind 
presenting itself as at once type-creating, emotional, and sen 
suous, is the imagination. The second Person in God, who 
is in truth the first person in religion, is the nature of the 
imagination made objective. The definitions of the second 
Person are principally images or symbols; and these images 
do not proceed from man's incapability of conceiving the 
object otherwise than symbolically, which is an altogether 
false interpretation, but the thing cannot be conceived other 
wise than symbolically because the thing itself is a symbol or 
image. The Son is therefore expressly called the Image of 
God ; his essence is that he is an image the representation of 
God, the visible glory of the invisible God. The Son is the 
satisfaction of the need for mental images, the nature of the 
imaginative activity in man made objective as an absolute, 
divine activity. Man makes to himself an image of God, i. e. } 
he converts the abstract Being of the reason, the Being of the 
thinking power, into an object of sense, or imagination. f But 
he places this image in God himself, because his want would 
not be satisfied if he did not regard this image as an objective 
reality, if it were nothing more for him than a subjective 
image, separate from God, a mere figment devised by man. 
And it is in fact no devised, no arbitrary image ; for it 
expresses the necessity of the imagination, the necessity of 
affirming the imagination as a divine power. The Son is the 
reflected splendour of the imagination, the image dearest to 
the heart; but for the very reason that he is only an object 

* This is expressed very significantly in the Incarnation. God renounces, 
denies his majesty, power, and infinity, in order to become a man; i.e., 
man denies the God who is not himself a man, and only affirms the God 
who affirms man. Exinanivit, says St. Bernard, majestate et potentia, 
non bonitate et misericordia. That which cannot be renounced, cannot be 
denied, is thus the Divine goodness and mercy, i.e., the self-affirmation of 
the human heart, 

f It is obvious that the Image of God has also another signification, 
namely, that the personal, visible man is God himself. But here the image 
is considered simply as an image. 


of the imagination, he is only the nature of the imagination 
made objective.* 

It is clear from this, how hlinded hy prejudice dogmatic 
speculation is, when, entirely overlooking the inward genesis 
of the Son of God as the Image of God, it demonstrates the 
Son as a metaphysical ens, as an ohject of thought, whereas 
the Son is a declension, a falling off from the metaphysical 
idea of the Godhead ; a falling off, however, which religion 
naturally places in God himself, in order to justify it, and 
not to feel it as a falling off. The Son is the chief and ultimate 
principle of image worship, for he is the image of God; and 
the image necessarily takes the place of the thing. The adora 
tion of the saint in his image, is the adoration of the image as 
the saint. Wherever the image is the essential expression, 
the organ of religion, there also it is the essence of religion. 

The Council of Nice adduced amongst other grounds for the 
religious use of images, the authority of Gregory of Nyssa, 
who said that he could never look at an image which repre 
sented the sacrifice of Isaac without heing moved to tears, 
because it so vividly brought before him that event in sacred 
history. But the effect of the represented object is not the 
effect of the object as such, but the effect of the representation. 
The holy object is simply the haze of holiness in which the 
image veils its mysterious power. The religious object is only 
a pretext, by means of which art or imagination can exercise 
its dominion over men unhindered. For the religious con 
sciousness, it is true, the sacredness of the image is associated, 
and necessarily so, only with the sacredness of the object; but 
the religious consciousness is not the measure of truth. In 
deed, the Church itself, while insisting on the distinction 
between the image and the object of the image, and denying 
that the worship is paid to the image, has at the same time 
made at least an indirect admission of the truth, by itself 
declaring the sacredness of the image. f 

But the ultimate, highest principle of image-worship is the 

* Let the reader only consider, for example, the Transfiguration, the 
Resurrection, and the Ascension of Christ. 

f " Sacram imaginem Domini nostri Jesu Christi et omnium Salvatoris 
sequo honore cum libro sanctorum evangeliorum adorari decernimus .... 
Dignum est enim ut . , . . propter hoiiorem qui ad principia refertur, 
etiam derivative imagines honorentur et adorentur." Gener. Const Cone, 
viii. Art. 10. Can. 3. 



worship of the Image of God in God. The Son, who is the 
" brightness of His glory, the express image of His person," 
is the entrancing splendour of the imagination, which only 
manifests itself in visible images. Both to inward and out 
ward contemplation the representation of Christ, the Image 
of God, was the image of images. The images of the saints 
are only optical multiplications of one and the same image. 
The speculative deduction of the Image of God is therefore 
nothing more than an unconscious deduction and establishing 
of image-worship : for the sanction of the principle is also the 
sanction of its necessary consequences ; the sanction of the 
archetype is the sanction of its semblance. If God has an 
image of himself, why should not I have an image of God ? 
If God loves his Image as himself, why should not I also love 
the Image of God as I love God himself? If the Image of 
God is God himself, why should not the image of the saint 
be the saint himself? If it is no superstition to believe that 
the image which God makes of himself, is no image, no mere 
conception, but a substance, a person, why should it be a 
superstition to believe that the image of the saint is the sensi 
tive substance of the saint ? The Image of God weeps and 
bleeds ; why then should not the image of a saint also weep 
and bleed ? Does the distinction lie in the fact that the image 
of the saint is a product of the hands ? Why, the hands 
did not make this image, but the mind which animated the 
hands, the imagination ; and if God makes an image of himself, 
that also is only a product of the imagination. Or does the 
distinction proceed from this, that the Image of God is produced 
by God himself, whereas the image of the saint is made by 
another ? Why, the image of the saint is also a product of 
the saint himself : for he appears to the artist ; the artist only 
represents him as he appears. 

Connected with the nature of the image is another definition 
of the Second Person, namely, that he is the Word of God. 

A Word is an abstract image, the imaginary thing, or, in so 
far as everything is ultimately an object of the thinking power, 
it is the imagined thought : hence, men when they know the 
word, the name for a thing, fancy that they know the thing 
also. Words are a result of the imagination. Sleepers who 
dream vividly, and invalids who are delirious, speak. The 
power of speech is a poetic talent. Brutes do not speak 
Because they have no poetic faculty. Thought expresses itself 
only by images; the power by which thought expresses itself 


is the imagination ; the imagination expressing itself is speech. 
He who speaks, lays under a spell, fascinates those to whom 
he speaks ; hut the power of words is the power of the imagi 
nation. Therefore to the ancients, as children of the imagina 
tion, the Word was a heing a mysterious, magically powerful 
heing. Even the Christians, and not only the vulgar among 
them, but also the learned, the Fathers of the Church, attached 
to the mere name Christ, mysterious powers of healing.* And 
in the present day the common people still helieve that it is 
possible to bewitch men by mere words. Whence comes this 
ascription of imaginary influences to words ? Simply from 
this, that words themselves are only a result of the imagination, 
and hence have the effect of a narcotic on man, imprison him 
under the power of the imagination. Words possess a revolution 
izing force ; words govern mankind. Words are held sacred ; 
while the things of reason and truth are decried. 

The affirming or making objective of the nature of the 
imagination is therefore directly connected with the affirming or 
making objective of the nature of speech, of the Word. Man 
has not only an instinct, an internal necessity, which impels 
him to think, to perceive, to imagine; he has also the impulse 
to speak, to utter, impart his thoughts. A divine impulse this 
a divine power, the power of words. The word is the imaged, 
revealed, radiating, lustrous, enlightening thought. The word 
is the light of the world. The word guides to all truth, un 
folds all mysteries, reveals the unseen, makes present the past 
and the future, defines the infinite, perpetuates the transient. 
Men pass away, the word remains ; the word is life and truth. 
All power is given to the word : the word makes the blind 
see and the lame walk, heals the sick, and brings the dead to 
life; the word works miracles, and the only rational miracles. 
The word is the gospel, the paraclete of mankind. To con 
vince thyself of the divine nature of speech, imagine thyself 
alone and forsaken, yet acquainted with language; and imagine 
thyself further hearing for the first time the word of a human 
being : would not this word seem to thee angelic, would it not 
sound like the voice of God himself, like heavenly music ? 
Words are not really less rich, less pregnant than music, though 
music seems to say more, and appears deeper and richer than 
words, for this reason simply, that it is invested with that 
prepossession, that illusion. 

* " Tanta certe vis nomini Jesu inest contra dsemones,ut nonnunquam etiam 
a malis nominatum sit efficax." Origenes adv. Celsuni, 1. i. ; see also 1. iii. 


The Word has power to redeem, to reconcile, to bless, to 
make free. The sins which we confess are forgiven us by 
virtue of the divine power of the word. The dying man who 
gives forth in speech his long-concealed sins, departs recon 
ciled. The forgiveness of sins lies in the confession of sins. 
The sorrows which we confide to our friend are already half 
healed. Whenever we speak of a subject, the passions which 
it has excited in us are allayed ; we see more clearly ; the 
object of anger, of vexation, of sorrow, appears to us in a 
light in which we perceive the unworthiness of those passions. 
If we are in darkness and doubt on any matter, we need only 
speak of it ; often in the very moment in which we open our 
lips to consult a friend, the doubts and difficulties disappear. 
The word makes man free. He who cannot express himself is 
a slave. Hence, excessive passion, excessive joy, excessive 
grief, are speechless. To speak is an act of freedom ; the word 
is freedom. Justly therefore is language held to be the root 
of culture ; where language is cultivated, man is cultivated. 
The barbarism of the middle ages disappeared before the re 
vival of language. 

As we can conceive nothing else as a Divine Being than the 
Rational which we think, the Good which we love, the Beau 
tiful which we perceive ; so we know no higher spiritually 
operative power and expression of power, than the power of the 
Word.* God is the sum of all reality. All that man feels or 
knows as a reality, he must place in God or regard as God. 
Religion must therefore be conscious of the power of the 
word as a divine power. The Word of God is the divinity of 
the word, as it becomes an object to man within the sphere of 
religion, the true nature of the human word. The Word of 
God is supposed to be distinguished from the human word in 
that it is no transient breath, but an imparted being. But 
does not the word of man also contain the being of man, his 
imparted self, at least when it is a true word ? Thus religion 
takes the appearance of the human word for its essence ; hence 
it necessarily conceives the true nature of the Word to be a 
special being, distinct from the human word. 

" God reveals himself to us, as the Speaker, who has, in himself, an 
eternal uncreated Word, whereby he created the world and all things, with 
slight labour, namely with speech, so that to God it is not more difficult 
to create than it is to^us to name." Luther, t. i. p. 302. 




THE second Person, as God revealing, manifesting, declaring 
himself (Deus se elicit), is the world-creating principle in God. 
But this means nothing else than that the second Person is inter 
mediate between the noumenal nature of God and the phenomenal 
nature of the world, that he is the divine principle of the finite, 
of that which is distinguished from God. The second Person 
as begotten, as not a se, not existing of himself, has the funda 
mental condition of the finite in himself."* But at the same 
time, he is not yet a real finite Being, posited out of God ; on 
the contrary, he is still identical with God, as identical as 
the son is with the father, the son being indeed another person, 
but still of like nature with the father. The second Person, 
therefore, does not represent to us the pure idea of the God 
head, but neither does he represent the pure idea of humanity, 
or of reality in general : he is an intermediate Being between 
the two opposites. The opposition of the noumenal or invi 
sible divine nature and the phenomenal or visible nature of the 
world, is however nothing else than the opposition between 
the nature of abstraction and the nature of perception ; but 
that which connects abstraction with perception is the imagi 
nation : consequently, the transition from God to the world by 
means of the second Person, is only the form in which religion 
makes objective the transition from abstraction to perception 
by means of the imagination. It is the imagination alone by 
which man neutralizes the opposition between God and 
the world. All religious cosmogonies are products of the 
imagination. Every being, intermediate between God and the 
world, let it be defined how it may, is a being of the imagina- 

* " Hylarius. . , . . Si quis innascibilem et sine initio dicat filium, quasi 
duo sine principle et duo innascibilia, et duo innata dicens, duos fac-iat 
Deos, anathema sit. Caput autem quod est principium Christi, Deus. . . . 
Filium innascibilem confiteri impiissimum est." Petrus Lomb. Sent. 1. i. 
disk 31. c. 4 


tion. The psychological truth and necessity which lies at the 
foundation of all these theogonies and cosmogonies, is the 
truth and necessity of the imagination as a middle term between 
the abstract and concrete. And the task of philosophy, in 
investigating this subject, is to comprehend the relation of the 
imagination to the reason, the genesis of the image by means 
of which an object of thought becomes an object of sense, of 

But the nature of the imagination is the complete, exhaus 
tive truth of the cosmogonic principle, only where the antithesis 
of God and the world expresses nothing but the indefinite an 
tithesis of the noumenal, invisible, incomprehensible Being, 
God, and the visible, tangible existence of the world. If, on 
the other hand, the cosmogonic being is conceived and ex 
pressed abstractly, as is the case in religious speculation, we 
have also to recognise a more abstract psychological truth as 
its foundation. 

The world is not God ; it is other than God, the opposite 
of God, or at least that which is different from God. But 
that which is different from God, cannot have come immedi 
ately from God, but only from a distinction of God in God. 
The second Person is God distinguishing himself from himself 
in himself, setting himself opposite to himself, hence being an 
object to himself. The self- distinguishing of God from himself 
is the ground of that which is different from himself, and thus 
self-consciousness is the origin of the world. God first thinks 
the world in thinking himself: to think oneself is to beget 
oneself, to think the world is to create the world. Begetting 
precedes creating. The idea of the production of the world, of 
another being who is not God, is attained through the idea of 
the production of another being who is like God. 

This cosmogonical process is nothing else than the mystic 
paraphrase of a psychological process, nothing else than the 
unity of consciousness and self-consciousness, made objec 
tive. God thinks himself: thus he is self-conscious. God is 
self-consciousness posited as an object, as a being ; but 
inasmuch as he knows himself, thinks himself, he also thinks 
another than himself; for to know oneself is to distinguish 
oneself from another, whether this be a possible, merely con 
cept] on al, or a real being. Thus the world at least the possi 
bility, the idea of the world is posited with consciousness, or 
rather conveyed in it. The Son, i.e., God thought by himself, 


objective to himself, the original reflection of God, the other 
God, is the principle of Creation. The truth which lies at the 
foundation of this is the nature of man : the identity of his 
self-consciousness with his consciousness of another who is 
identical with himself, and of another who is not identical with 
himself. And the second, the other who is of like nature, is 
necessarily the middle term between the first and third. The 
idea of another in general, of one who is essentially different 
from me arises to me first through the idea of one who is 
essentially like me. 

Consciousness of the world is the consciousness of my limi 
tation ; if I knew nothing of a world, I should know nothing 
of limits : hut the consciousness of my limitation stands in 
contradiction with the impulse of my egoism towards unli- 
mitedness. Thus from egoism conceived as absolute (God is 
the absolute Self) I cannot pass immediately to its opposite ; 
I must introduce, prelude, moderate this contradiction by the 
consciousness of a being who is indeed another, and in so far 
gives me the perception of my limitation, but in such a way as 
at the same time to affirm my own nature, make my nature 
objective to me. The consciousness of the world is a humili 
ating consciousness; the Creation was an "act of humility;" 
but the first stone against which the pride of egoism stumbles, 
is the thou, the alter ego. The ego first steels its glance in 
the eye of a thou, before it endures the contemplation of a 
being which does not reflect its own image. My fellow-man 
is the bond between me and the world. I am, and I feel myself, 
dependent on the world, because I first feel myself dependent 
on other men. If I did not need man, I should not need the 
world. I reconcile myself with the world only through my 
fellow-man. Without other men, the world Avould be for me 
not only dead and empty, but meaningless. Only through his 
fellow does man become clear to himself and self-conscious; 
but only when I am clear to myself, does the world become 
clear to me. A man existing absolutely alone, would lose 
himself without any sense of his individuality in the ocean of 
Nature ; he would neither comprehend himself as man, nor 
Nature as Nature. The first object of man is man. The sense 
of Nature, which opens to us the consciousness of the world as 
a world, is a later product ; for it first arises through the dis 
tinction of man from himself. The natural philosophers of 
Greece were preceded by the so-called seven Sages, whose 
wisdom had immediate reference to human life only. 

E 3 


The ego, then, attains to consciousness of the world 
through consciousness of the thou. Thus man is the God 
of man. That he is, he has to thank Nature ; that he is 
man, he has to thank man ; spiritually as well as physically, 
he can achieve nothing without his fellow-man. Four hands 
can do more than two ; hut also, four eyes can see more than 
two. And this combined power is distinguished not only in 
quantity hut also in quality from that which is solitary. In 
isolation human power is limited, in combination it is infinite. 
The knowledge of a single man is limited, hut reason, science, 
is unlimited, for it is a common act of mankind ; and it is so, 
not only because innumerable men co-operate in the con 
struction of science, hut also in the more profound sense, that 
the scientific genius of a particular age comprehends in itself 
the thinking powers of the preceding age, though it modifies 
them in accordance with its own special character. Wit, 
acumen, imagination, feeling as distinguished from sensation, 
reason as a subjective faculty, all these so-called powers of 
the soul, are powers of humanity, not of man as an individual ; 
they are products of culture, products of human society. 
Only where man has contact and friction with his fellow-man are 
wit and sagacity kindled ; hence there is more wit in the town 
than in the country, more in great towns than in small ones. 
Only where man suns and warms himself in the proximity of 
man, arise feeling and imagination. Love, which requires 
mutuality, is the spring of poetry; and only where man com 
municates with man, only in speech, a social act, awakes 
reason. To ask a question and to answer, are the first acts 
of thought. Thought originally demands two. It is not 
until man has reached an advanced stage of culture that he 
can double himself, so as to play the part of another within 
himself. To think and to speak are therefore with all ancient 
and sensuous nations, identical ; they think only in speaking ; 
their thought is only conversation. The common people, i.e., 
people in whom the power of abstraction has not been 
developed, are still incapable of understanding what is written 
if they do not read it audibly, if they do not pronounce what 
they read. In this point of view Hobbes correctly enough 
derives the understanding of man from his ears ! 

Reduced to abstract logical categories, the creative principle 
in God expresses nothing further than the tautological pro 
position : the different can only proceed from a principle of 


difference, not from a simple being. However the Christian 
philosophers and theologians insisted on the creation of the 
world out of nothing, they were unahle altogether to evade 
the old axiom " nothing comes from nothing," because it ex 
presses a law of thought. It is true that they supposed no 
real matter as the principle of the diversity of material things, 
but they made the Divine understanding (and the Son is the 
wisdom, the science, the understanding of the Father) as that 
which comprehends within itself all things, as spiritual matter 
the principle of real matter. The distinction between the 
heathen eternity of matter and the Christian creation in this 
respect, is only 'that the heathens ascribed to the world a real, 
objective eternity, whereas the Christians gave it an invisible, 
immaterial eternity. Things were, before they existed posi 
tively, not, indeed, as an object of sense, but of the subjective 
understanding. The Christians, whose principle is that of 
absolute subjectivity, conceive all things as effected only 
through this principle. The matter posited by their subjective 
thought, conceptional, subjective matter, is therefore to them 
the first matter, far more excellent than real, objective 
matter. Nevertheless, this distinction is only a distinction in 
the mode of existence. The world is eternal in God. Or did it 
spring up in him as a sudden idea, a caprice ? Certainly man 
can conceive this too ; but, in doing so, he deifies nothing but 
his own irrationality. If, on the contrary, I abide by reason, 
I can only derive the world from its essence, its idea, i.e., one 
mode of its existence from another mode ; in other words, I 
can derive the world only from itself. The world has its 
basis in itself, as has everything in the world winch has a 
claim to the name of species. The differentia specified, the 
peculiar character, that by which a given being is what it is, 
is always in the ordinary sense inexplicable, undeducible, is 
through itself, has its cause in itself. 

The distinction between the world and God as the creator 
of the world, is therefore only a formal one. The nature of 
God f or the divine understanding, that which comprehends 
within itself all things, is the divine nature itself; hence God, 
inasmuch as he thinks and knows himself, thinks and knows 
at the same time the world and all things the nature of God 
is nothing else than the abstract, thought nature of the world ; 
the nature of the world nothing else than the real, concrete, 
perceptible nature of God. Hence, creation is nothing more 


than a formal act ; for that which, before the creation, was 
an object of thought, of the understanding, is by creation 
simply made an object of sense, its ideal contents continuing 
the same ; although it remains absolutely inexplicable how a 
real material thing can spring out of a pure thought.* 

So it is with plurality and difference if we reduce the 
world to these abstract categories in opposition to the 
unity and identity of the Divine nature. Real difference 
can be derived only from a being which has a principle of 
difference in itself. But I posit difference in the original 
being, because I have originally found difference as a positive 
reality. Wherever difference is in itself nothing, there also 
no difference is conceived in the principle of things. I posit 
difference as an essential category, as a truth, where I derive it 
from the original being, and vice versa : the two propositions 
are identical. The rational expression is this : Difference lies 
as necessarily in the reason as identity. 

But as difference is a positive condition of the reason, I 
cannot deduce it without presupposing it ; I cannot explain 
it except by itself, because it is an original, self-luminous, self- 
attesting reality. Through what means arises the world, that 
which is distinguished from God ? through the distinguishing 
of God from himself in himself. God thinks himself, he is an 
object to himself; he distinguishes himself from himself. 
Hence this distinction, the world, arises only from a distinction 
of another kind, the external distinction from an internal one, 
the static distinction from a dynamic one, from an act of dis 
tinction : thus I establish difference only through itself; i. e., 
it is an original concept, a ne plus ultra of my thought, a 
law, a necessity, a truth. The last distinction that I can think, 
is the distinction of a being from and in itself. The dis 
tinction of one being from another is self-evident, is already 
implied in their existence, is a palpable truth : they are two. 
But I first establish difference for thought when I discern it 
in one and the same being, when I unite it with the law of 
identity. Herein lies the ultimate truth of difference. The 
cosmogonic principle in God, reduced to its last elements, is 
nothing else than the act of thought in its simplest forms, 
made objective. If I remove difference from God, he gives me 

* It is therefore mere self-delusion to suppose that the hypothesis of a 
Creation explains the existence of the world. 


no material for thought ; he ceases to be an object of thought ; 
for difference is an essential principle of thought. And if I 
consequently place difference in God, what else do I establish, 
what else do I make an object, than the truth and necessity of 
this principle of thought ? 



INTERESTING material for the criticism of cosmogonic and theo- 
gonic fancies is furnished in the doctrine revived hy Schelling 
and drawn from Jacob Bohme of eternal Nature in God. 

God is pure spirit, clear self-consciousness, moral person 
ality; Nature, on the contrary, is, at least partially, confused, 
dark, desolate, immoral, or to say no more, unmoral. But it 
is self-contradictory that the impure should proceed from the 
pure, darkness from light. How then can we remove these 
obvious difficulties in the way of assigning a divine origin to 
Nature ? Only by positing this impurity, this darkness in 
God, by distinguishing in God himself a principle of light and 
a principle of darkness. In other words, we can only explain 
the origin of darkness by renouncing the idea of origin, and 
presupposing darkness as existing from the beginning.* 

But that which is dark in Nature is the irrational, the 
material, Nature strictly, as distinguished from intelligence. 
Hence the simple meaning of this doctrine is, that Nature, 
Matter, cannot be explained as a result of intelligence ; on the 
contrary, it is the basis of intelligence, the basis of personality, 
without itself having any basis ; spirit without Nature is an 
unreal abstraction; consciousness developes itself only out of 
Nature. But this materialistic doctrine is veiled in a mystical 
yet attractive obscurity, inasmuch as it is not expressed in the 
clear, simple language of reason, but emphatically enunciated 
in that consecrated word of the emotions God. If the light 
in God springs out of the darkness in God, this is only because 
it is involved in the idea of light in general, that it illuminates 

* It is beside our purpose to criticise this crass mystical theory. We 
merely remark here, that darkness can be explained only when it is derived 
from light ; that the derivation of the darkness in Nature from light appears 
an impossibility only when it is not perceived that even in darkness there is 
a residue of light, that the darkness in Nature is not an absolute, but a 
modified darkness, tempered by light. 


darkness, thus presupposing darkness, not making it. If then 
God is once subjected to a general law, as he must necessarily 
be unless he be made the arena of conflict for the most senseless 
notions, if self-consciousness in God as well as in itself, as in 
general, is evolved from a principle in Nature, why is not this 
natural principle abstracted from God ? That which is a law 
of consciousness in itself, is a law for the consciousness of 
every personal being, whether man, angel, demon, God, or 
whatever else thou mayst conceive to thyself as a being. To 
what then, seen in their true light, do the two principles in God 
reduce themselves ? The one to Nature, at least to Nature as it 
exists in the conception, abstracted from its reality ; the other 
to rnind, consciousness, personality. The one half, the reverse 
side, thou dost not name God, but only the obverse side, 011 
which he presents to thee mind, consciousness : thus his specific 
essence, that whereby he is God, is mind, intelligence, con 
sciousness. Why then dost thou make that which is properly 
the subject in God as God, i. e., as mind, into a mere predicate, 
as if God existed as God apart from mind, from consciousness ? 
Why, but because thou art enslaved by mystical religious 
speculation, because the primary principle in thee is the 
imagination, thought being only secondary and serving but to 
throw into formulae the products of the imagination, because 
thou feelest at ease and at home only in the deceptive twilight 
of mysticism. 

Mysticism is deuteroscopy a fabrication of phrases having a 
double meaning. The mystic speculates concerning the essence 
of Nature or of man, but under, and by means of, the suppo 
sition that he is speculating concerning another, a personal 
being, distinct from both. The mystic has the same objects as 
the plain, self-conscious thinker ; but the real object is regarded 
by the mystic, not as itself, but as an imaginary being, and 
hence the imaginary object is to him the real object. Thus 
here, in the mystical doctrine of the two principles in God, 
the real object is pathology, the imaginary one, theology ; i.e., 
pathology is converted into theology. There would be nothing 
to urge against this, if, consciously, real pathology were recog 
nised and expressed as theology ; indeed, it is precisely our 
task to show that theology is nothing else than an unconscious, 
esoteric pathology, anthropology, and psychology, and that 
therefore real anthropology, real pathology, and real psycho 
logy have far more claim to the name of theology, than has 


theology itself, because this is nothing more than an imaginary 
psychology and anthropology. But this doctrine or theory is 
supposed and for this reason it is mystical and fantastic to 
be not pathology, but theology, in the old or ordinary sense of 
the word ; it is supposed that we have here unfolded to us the 
life of a Being distinct from us, while nevertheless it is only 
our own nature which is unfolded, though at the same time 
again shut up from us by the fact that this nature is repre 
sented as inhering in another being. The mystic philosopher 
supposes that in God, not in us human individuals, that 
would be far too trivial a truth, reason first appears after the 
Passion of Nature ; that not man, but God, has wrestled him 
self out of the obscurity of confused feelings and impulses 
into the clearness of knowledge ; that not in our subjective, 
limited mode of conception, but in God himself, the nervous 
tremors of darkness precede the joyful consciousness of light; 
in short, he supposes that his theory presents not a history of 
human throes, but a history of the development, i.e., the throes 
of God for developments (or transitions) are birth-struggles. 
But, alas ! this supposition itself belongs only to the patho 
logical element. 

If, therefore, the cosmogonic process presents to us the 
Light of the power of distinction as belonging to the divine 
essence ; so, on the other hand, the Night or Nature in God, 
represents to us the Pensees confuses of Leibnitz as divine 
powers. But the Pensees confuses confused, obscure concep 
tions and thoughts, or more correctly images, represent the 
flesh, matter ; a pure intelligence, separate from matter, has 
only clear, free thoughts, no obscure, i.e., fleshly ideas, no 
material images, exciting the imagination and setting the blood 
in commotion. The Night in God, therefore, implies nothing 
else than this : God is not only a spiritual but also a material, 
corporeal, fleshly being ; but as man is man, and receives his 
designation, in virtue not of his fleshly nature, but of his mind, 
so is it with God. 

But the mystic philosopher expresses this only in obscure, 
mystical, indefinite, dissembling images. Instead of the rude, 
but hence all the more precise and striking expression, flesh, it 
substitutes the equivocal, abstract words, nature and ground. 
" As nothing is before or out of God, he must have the ground 
of his existence in himself. This all philosophies say, but 
they speak of this ground as a mere idea, without making it 


something real. This ground of his existence which God has 
in himself, is not God considered absolutely, i.e., in so far as 
he exists ; it is only the ground of his existence. It is 
Nature in God ; an existence inseparable from him, it is true, 
but still distinct. Analogically (?), this relation may be illus 
trated by gravitation and light in nature." But this ground is 
the non-intelligent in God. " That which is the commence 
ment of an intelligence (in itself) cannot also be intelligent." 
" In the strict sense, intelligence is born of this unintelligent 
principle. Without this antecedent darkness there is no reality 
of the Creator." " With abstract ideas of God as actus puris- 
simus, such as were laid down by the older philosophy, or such 
as the modern, out of anxiety to remove God far from Nature, 
is always reproducing, we can effect nothing. God is some 
thing more real than a mere moral order of the world, and has 
quite another and a more living motive power in himself than 
is ascribed to him by the jejune subtilty of abstract idealists. 
Idealism, if it has not a living realism as its basis, is as empty 
and abstract a system as that of Leibnitz or Spinoza, or as any 
other dogmatic system." " So long as the God of modern 
theism remains the simple, supposed purely essential but 
in fact nonessential Being that all modern systems make 
him, so long as a real duality is not recognised in God, 
and a limiting, negativing force, opposed to the expansive 
affirming force, so long will the denial of a personal God be 
scientific honesty." " All consciousness is concentration, is a 
gathering together, a collecting of oneself. This negativing force 
by which a being turns back upon itself, is the true force of 
personality, the force of egoism." "How should there be a fear 
of God, if there were no strength in him ? But that there 
should be something in God, which is mere force and strength, 
cannot be held astonishing if only it be not maintained that he 
is this alone and nothing besides."* 

But what then is force and strength which is merely such, 
if not corporeal force and strength ? Dost them know any 
power which stands at thy command, in distinction from 
the power of kindness and reason, besides muscular power? 
If them canst effect nothing through kindness and the argu 
ments of reason, force is what them must take refuge in. But 

* Schelling, Ueber das Wesen der Menschlichen Freiheit, 429, 432, 427. 
Denkmal Jacobi's, s. 82, 97-99. 


canst thou " effect " anything without strong arms and fists ? 
Is there known to thee, in distinction from the power of the 
moral order of the world, " another and more living motive 
power " than the lever of the criminal court ? Is not Nature 
without body also an "empty, abstract" idea, a "jejune sub- 
tilty ? " Is not the mystery of Nature the mystery of corpo 
reality ? Is not the system of a " living realism " the system of 
the organized body ? Is there, in general, any other force, the 
opposite of intelligence, than the force of flesh and blood, 
any other strength of Nature than the strength of the fleshly 
impulses ? And the strongest of the impulses of Nature, is it 
not the sexual feeling ? Who does not remember the old pro 
verb : " Amare et sapere vix Deo competit ? " So that if we 
would posit in God a Nature, an existence opposed to the light 
of intelligence, can we think of a more living, a more real 
antithesis, than that of amare and sapere, of spirit and flesh, 
of freedom and the sexual impulse ? 

Personality, individuality, consciousness, without Nature, is 
nothing ; or, which is the same thing, an empty, unsubstantial 
abstraction. But Nature, as has been shown and is obvious, 
is nothing without corporeality. The body alone is that nega 
tiving, limiting, concentrating, circumscribing force, without 
which no personality is conceivable. Take away from thy per 
sonality its body, and thou takest away that which holds it 
together. The body is the basis, the subject of personality. 
Only by the body, is a real personality distinguished from the 
imaginary one of a spectre. What sort of abstract, vague, 
empty personalities should we be, if we had not the property 
of impenetrability, if in the same place, in the same form in 
which we are, others might stand at the same time ? Only by 
the exclusion of others from the space it occupies, does person 
ality prove itself to be real. But a body does not exist without 
flesh and blood. Flesh and blood is life, and life alone is cor 
poreal reality. But flesh and blood is nothing without the 
oxygen of sexual distinction. The distinction of sex is not 
superficial, or limited to certain parts of the body ; it is an 
essential one : it penetrates bones and marrow. The substance 
of man, is manhood; that of woman, womanhood. However 
spiritual and super-sensual the man may be, he remains always 
a man ; and it is the same with the woman. Hence person 
ality is nothing without distinction of sex ; personality is 
essentially distinguished into masculine and feminine. Where 


there is no thou, there is no I ; but the distinction between I 
and thou, the fundamental condition of all personality, of all 
consciousness, is only real, living, ardent, when felt as the dis 
tinction between man and woman. The thou between man and 
woman has quite another sound, than the monotonous thou 
between friends. 

Nature in distinction from personality can signify nothing 
else than difference of sex. A personal being apart from 
Nature is nothing else than a being without sex, and con 
versely. Nature is said to be predicated of God, "in the 
sense in which it is said of a man, that he is of a strong, healthy 
nature." But what is more feeble, what more insupportable, 
what more contrary to Nature than a person without sex, or a 
person, who in character, manners, or feelings, denies sex ? 
What is virtue, the excellence of man as man ? Manhood. Of 
man as woman? Womanhood. But man exists only as man and 
woman. The strength, the healthiness of man, consists there 
fore in this : that as a woman, he be truly woman ; as man, 
truly man. Thou repudiatest " the horror of all that is real, 
which supposes the spiritual to be polluted by contact with the 
real." Repudiate then before all, thy own horror for the dis 
tinction of sex. If God is not polluted by Nature, neither is 
he polluted by being associated with the idea of sex. In 
renouncing sex, thou renouncest thy whole principle. A moral 
God apart from Nature is without basis ; but the basis of 
morality is the distinction of sex. Even the brute is capable 
of self-sacrificing love in virtue of the sexual distinction. All 
the glory of Nature, all its power, all its wisdom and pro 
fundity, concentrates and individualizes itself in distinction of 
sex. Why then dost thou shrink from naming the nature of 
God by its true name ? Evidently, only because thou hast a 
general horror of things in their truth and reality ; because 
thou lookest at all things through the deceptive vapours of 
mysticism. For this very reason then, because Nature in God 
is only a delusive, unsubstantial appearance, a fantastic ghost 
of Nature, for it is based, as we have said, not on flesh and 
blood, not on a real ground, this attempt to establish a per 
sonal God is once more a failure, and I, too, conclude with the 
words, "the denial of a personal God will be scientific 
honesty": and, I add, scientific truth, so long as it is not 
declared and shown in unequivocal terms, first a priori, on 
speculative grounds, that form, place, corporeality, and sex, do 


not contradict the idea of the Godhead ; and secondly, 
a posteriori, for the reality of a personal being, is sustained 
only on empirical grounds, what sort of form God has, where 
he exists, in heaven, and lastly, of what sex he is. 

Let the profound, speculative religious philosophers of Ger 
many courageously shake off the embarrassing remnant of 
rationalism which yet clings to them, in flagrant contradiction 
with their true character ; and let them complete their system, 
by converting the mystical "potence" of Nature in God into 
a really powerful, generating God. 

The doctrine of Nature in God is borrowed from Jacob 
Bohme. But in the original it has a far deeper and more 
interesting significance, than in its second modernized and 
emasculated edition. Jacob Bohme has a profoundly religious 
mind. Eeligion is the centre of his life and thought. But at 
the same time, the significance which has been given to Nature 
in modern times by the study of natural science, by Spino- 
zism, materialism, empiricism has taken possession of his 
religious sentiment. He has opened his senses to Nature, 
thrown a glance into her mysterious being; but it alarms him; 
and he cannot harmonize this terror at Nature with his religious 
conceptions. " When I looked into the great depths of this 
world, and at the sun and stars, also at the clouds, also at the rain 
and snow, and considered in my mind the whole creation of 
this world; then I found in all things evil and good, love and 
anger, in unreasoning things, such as wood, stone, earth, and 

the elements, as well as in men and beasts But 

because I found that in all things there was good and evil, in 
the elements as well as in the creatures, and that it goes as well 
in the world with the godless as with the pious, also that the 
barbarous nations possess the best lands, and have more pro 
sperity than the godly ; I was therefore altogether melancholy 
and extremely troubled, and the Scriptures could not console 
me, though almost all well known to me; and therewith assuredly 
the devil was not idle, for he often thrust upon me heathenish 
thoughts, of which I will here be silent."* But while his 
mind seized with fearful earnestness the dark side of Nature, 
which did not harmonize with the religious idea of a heavenly 

* Kernhafter Auszug J. Bohme: Amsterdam, 1718, p. 58, 


Creator, he was on the other hand rapturously affected by her 
resplendent aspects. Jacob Bohme has a sense for nature. 
He preconceives, nay, he feels the joys of the mineralogist, of 
the botanist, of the chemist the joys of " godless Natural 
science." He is enraptured by the splendour of jewels, the 
tones of metals, the hues and odours of plants, the beauty and 
gentleness of many animals. In another place, speaking of the 
revelation of God in the phenomena of light, the process by 
which " there arises in the Godhead the wondrous and beautiful 
structure of the heavens in various colours and kinds, and every 
spirit shows itself in its form specially," he says, " I can com 
pare it with nothing but with the noblest precious stones, such 
as the ruby, emerald, epidote, onyx, sapphire, diamond, jasper, 
hyacinth, amethyst, beryl, sardine, carbuncle, and the like." 
Elsewhere : " But regarding the precious stones, such as the 
carbuncle, ruby, emerald, epidote, onyx, and the like, which are 
the very best, these have the very same origin the flash of light 
in love. For that flash is born in tenderness, and is the heart 
in the centre of the Fountain-spirit, wherefore those stones also 
are mild, powerful, and lovely." It is evident that Jacob Bohme 
had no bad taste in mineralogy ; that he had delight in flowers 
also, and consequently a faculty for botany, is proved by the 
following passages among others: "The heavenly powers 
gave birth to heavenly joy-giving fruits and colours, to all sorts 
of trees and shrubs, whereupon grows the beauteous and lovely 
fruit of life : also there spring up in these powers all sorts of 
flowers with beauteous heavenly colours and scents. Their 
taste is various, in each according to its quality and kind, 
altogether holy, divine, and joy-giving." " If thou desirest to 
contemplate the heavenly, divine pomp and glory, as they are, 
and to know what sort of products, pleasure, or joys there are 
above : look diligently at this world, at the varieties of fruits 
and plants that grow upon the earth, trees, shrubs, vegetables, 
roots, flowers, oils, wines, corn, and everything that is there, 
and that thy heart can search out. All this is an image of the 
heavenly pomp."* 

A despotic fiat could not suffice as an explanation of the 
origin of Nature to Jacob Bohme ; Nature appealed too strongly 
to his senses, and lay too near his heart ; hence he sought for 

* L. c p. 480, 338, 340, 323. 


a natural explanation of Nature ; but he necessarily found no 
other ground of explanation than those qualities of Nature 
which made the strongest impression on him. Jacob Bohme 
this is his essential character is a mystical natural philoso 
pher, a theosophic Vulcanist and Neptunist,* for according to 
him, " all things had their origin in fire and water." Nature 
had fascinated Jacob's religious sentiments, not in vain did 
he receive his mystical light from the shining of tin utensils ; 
but the religious sentiment works only within itself ; it has not 
the force, not the courage, to press forward to the examination 
of things in their reality ; it looks at all things through the 
medium of religion, it sees all in God, i.e., in the entrancing, 
soul-possessing splendour of the imagination, it sees all in 
images and as an image. But Nature affected his mind in an 
opposite manner ; hence he must place this opposition in God 
himself, for the supposition of two independently existing, 
opposite, original principles would have afflicted his religious 
sentiment ; he must distinguish in God himself, a gentle, bene 
ficent element, and a fierce consuming one. Everything fiery, 
bitter, harsh, contracting, dark, cold, comes from a divine 
harshness and bitterness ; everything mild, lustrous, warming, 
tender, soft, yielding, from a mild, soft, luminous quality in 
God. " Thus are the creatures on the earth, in the water, and 
in the air, each creature out of its own science, out of good 
and evil. ... As one sees before one's eyes that there are 
good and evil creatures ; as venomous beasts and serpents 
from the centre of the nature of darkness, from the power of 
the fierce quality, which only want to dwell in darkness, 
abiding in caves and hiding themselves from the sun. By each 
animal's food and dwelling we see whence they have sprung, 
for every creature needs to dwell with its mother, and yearns 
after her, as is plain to the sight," " Gold, silver, precious 
stones, and all bright metal, has its origin in the light, which 
appeared before the times of anger," &c. " Everything which 
in the substance of this world is yielding, soft, and thin, is 
flowing, and gives itself forth, and the ground and origin of it 
is in the eternal Unity, for unity ever flows forth from itself; 
for in the nature of things not dense, as water and air, we can 

* The Philosophus teutonicus walked physically as well as mentally on 
volcanic ground. " The town of Go'rlitz is paved throughout with pure 
basalt." Charpentier, Mineral. Geographic der Chursachsischen Lande, 
p. 19. 


understand no susceptibility or pain, they being one in them 
selves.* In short, heaven is as rich as the earth. Everything 
that is on this earth, is in heaven, f all that is in Nature is in 
God. But in the latter it is divine, heavenly ; in the former, 
earthly, visible, external, material, but yet the same." " When 
I write of trees, shrubs and fruits, thou must not understand 
me of earthly things, such as are in this world; for it is not my 
meaning, that in heaven there grows a dead, hard, wooden tree, 
or a stone of earthly qualities. No : my meaning is heavenly 
and spiritual, but yet truthful and literal ; thus, I mean no 
other things than what I write in the letters of the alphabet ;" 
i.e., in heaven there are the same trees and flowers, but the 
trees in heaven are the trees which bloom and exhale in my 
imagination, without making coarse material impressions upon 
me ; the trees on earth are the trees which I perceive through 
my senses. The distinction is the distinction between ima 
gination and perception. " It is not my undertaking," says 
Jacob Bohme himself, " to describe the course of all stars, 
their place and name,, or how they have yearly their conjunc 
tion or opposition, or quadrate, or the like, what they do 
yearly and hourly, which through long years has been dis 
covered by wise, skilful, ingenious men, by diligent contem 
plation and observation, and deep thought and calculation. I 
have not learned and studied these things, and leave scholars to 
treat of them, but my undertaking is to write according to the 
spirit and thought, not according to sight."* 

The doctrine of Nature in God aims, by naturalism, to 
establish theism, especially the theism which regards the Su 
preme Being as a personal being. But personal theism con 
ceives God as a personal being, separate from all material 
things ; it excludes from him all development, because that is 
nothing else than the self-separation of a being from circum 
stances and conditions which do not correspond to its true 

* L. c. p. 468, 617, 618. 

f According to Swedeuborg, the angels in heaven have clothes and 
dwellings. " Their dwellings are altogether such as the dwellings or houses 
on earth, but far more beautiful ; there are apartments, rooms, and sleeping- 
chambers therein in great number, and entrance-courts, and round about 
gardens, flowers, meadows, and fields." (E. v. S. auserlesene Schriften, 1 Th. 
Frankf. a. M. 1776, p. 190, and 96.) Thus to the mystic this world is the 
other world ; but for that reason the other world is this world. 

I L. c. p. 339, p. 69. 


idea. And this does not take place in God, because in him 
beginning, end, middle, are not to be distinguished, because 
he is at once what he is, is from the beginning what he is to 
be, what he can be ; he is the pure unity of existence and 
essence, reality and idea, act and will. Deus suum Esse est. 
Herein theism accords with the essence of religion. All re 
ligions, however positive they may be, rest on abstraction ; 
they are distinguished only in that from which the abstraction 
is made. Even the Homeric gods, with all their living strength 
and likeness to man, are abstract forms ; they have bodies, like 
men, but bodies from which the limitations and difficulties of 
the human body are eliminated. The idea of a divine being is 
essentially an abstracted, distilled idea. It is obvious that this 
abstraction is no arbitrary one, but is determined by the essen 
tial stand-point of man. As he is, as he thinks, so does 
he make his abstraction. 

The abstraction expresses a judgment, an affirmative and a 
negative one at the same time, praise and blame. What man 
praises and approves, that is God to him ;* what he blames, 
condemns, is the non-divine. Religion is a judgment. The 
most essential condition in religion in the idea of the 
divine being is accordingly the discrimination of the praise 
worthy from the blameworthy, of the perfect from the imper 
fect ; in a w r ord, of the positive from the negative. The cultus 
itself consists in nothing else than in the continual renewal of 
the origin of religion a solemnizing of the critical discrimi 
nation between the divine and the non-divine. 

The Divine Being is the human being glorified by the death 
of abstraction; it is the departed spirit of man. In religion 
man frees himself from the limits of life ; he here lets fall 
what oppresses him, obstructs him, affects him repulsively; 
God is the self- consciousness of man freed from all discordant 
elements ; man feels himself free, happy, blessed in his religion, 
because he only here lives the life of genius, and keeps holiday. 
The basis of the divine idea lies for him outside of that idea itself; 
its truth lies in the prior judgment, in the fact that all which 
he excludes from God is previously judged by him to be non- 
divine, and what is non- divine to be worthless, nothing. If 
he were to include the attaining of this idea in the .idea itself, it 

* " Quidquid enim unus quisque super osetera colit : hoc illi Deus est." 
Origines Explan. in Epist. Pauli ad Rom. c. 1. 


would lose its most essential significance, its true value, its 
beatifying charm. The divine being is the pure subjectivity 
of man, freed from all else, from every thing objective, having 
relation only to itself, enjoying only itself, reverencing only 
itself his most subjective, his inmost self. The process of 
discrimination, the separating of the intelligent from the non- 
intelligent, of personality from nature, of the perfect from the 
imperfect, necessarily therefore takes place in the subject, not in 
the object, and the idea of God lies not at the beginning but at 
the end of sensible existence, of the world, of Nature. "Where 
Nature ceases, God begins," because God is the ne plus ultra, 
the last limit of abstraction. That from which I can no longer 
abstract is God, the last thought which I am capable of grasp 
ing the last, i.e., the highest. Id quo nihil majus cogitari 
potest, Deus est. That this Omega of sensible existence be 
comes an Alpha also, is easily comprehensible ; but the essen 
tial point is, that he is the Omega. The Alpha is primarily 
a consequence ; because God is the last or highest, he is also 
the first. And this predicate the first Being, has by no 
means immediately a cosmogonic significance, but only implies 
the highest rank. The creation in the Mosaic religion has 
for its end to secure to Jehovah the predicate of the highest 
and first, the true and exclusive God in opposition to idols. 

The effort to establish the personality of God through 
Nature, has therefore at its foundation an illegitimate, profane 
mingling of philosophy and religion, a complete absence of 
criticism and knowledge concerning the genesis of the personal 
God. Where personality is held the essential attribute of 
God, where it is said an impersonal God is no God ; there 
personality is held to be in and by itself the highest and most 
real thing, there it is presupposed that everything which is 
not a person is dead, is nothing, that only personal existence 
is real, absolute existence, is life and truth : but Nature is 
impersonal, and is therefore a trivial thing. The truth of 
personality rests only on the untruth of Nature. To predicate 
personality of God is nothing else than to declare personality 
as the absolute essence ; but personality is only conceived 
in distinction, in abstraction from Nature. Certainly a 
merely personal God is an abstract God ; but so he ought to 
be that is involved in the idea of him ; for he is nothing 
else than the personal nature of man positing itself out of all 
connexion with the world, making itself free from all depend-* 



ence on nature. In the personality of God man consecrates 
the supernaturalness, immortality, independence, unlimitedness 
of his own personality. 

In general, the need of a personal God has its foundation in 
this, that only in the attribute of personality does the personal 
man meet with himself, find himself. Substance, pure spirit, 
mere reason, does not satisfy him, is too abstract for him, i.e., 
does not express himself, does not lead him back to himself. 
And man is content, happy, only when he is with himself, with 
his own nature. Hence, the more personal a man is, the 
stronger is his need of a personal God. The free, abstract 
thinker knows nothing higher than freedom ; he does not 
need to attach it to a personal being ; for him freedom in it 
self, as such, is a real positive thing. A mathematical, astro 
nomical mind, a man of pure understanding, an objective man, 
who is not shut up in himself, who feels free and happy only in 
the contemplation of objective rational relations, in the reason 
which lies in things in themselves such a man will regard 
the substance of Spinoza, or some similar idea, as his highest 
being, and be full of antipathy towards a personal, i. e., sub 
jective God. Jacobi therefore was a classic philosopher, be 
cause (in this respect, at least) he was consistent, he was at 
unity with himself; as was his God, so was his philosophy 
personal, subjective. The personal God cannot be established 
otherwise than as he is established by Jacobi and his disciples. 
Personality is proved only in a personal manner. 

Personality may be, nay, must be, founded on a natural 
basis ; but this natural basis is attained only when I cease to 
grope in the darkness of mysticism, when I step forth into the 
clear daylight of real Nature, and exchange the idea of the 
personal God for the idea of personality in general. But into 
the idea of the personal God, the positive idea of whom is 
liberated, disembodied personality, released from the limiting 
force of Nature, to smuggle again this very Nature, is as per 
verse as if I were to mix Brunswick mum with the nectar of the 
gods, in order to give the ethereal beverage a solid foundation. 
Certainly the ingredients of animal blood are not to be derived 
from the celestial juice which nourishes the gods. But the 
flower of sublimation arises only through the evaporation of 
matter ; why, then, wilt thou mix with the sublimate that very 
matter from which thou hast disengaged it? Certainly, the 
impersonal existence of Nature is not to be explained by the 


idea of personality; but where personality is a truth, or, rather, 
the absolute truth, Nature has no positive significance, and 
consequently no positive basis. The literal creation out of 
nothing is here the only sufficient ground of explanation ; for 
it simply says this : Nature is nothing ; and this precisely 
expresses the significance which Nature has for absolute 




CREATION is the spoken word of God ; the creative, cosmo- 
gonic fiat is the tacit word, identical with the thought. To 
speak is an act of the will ; thus, creation is a product of the 
Will : as in the Word of God man affirms the divinity of the 
human word, so in creation he affirms the divinity of the 
Will : not, however, the will of the reason, but the will of the 
imagination the absolutely subjective, unlimited will. The 
culminating point of the principle of subjectivity is creation out 
of nothing.* As the eternity of the world or of matter imports 
nothing further than the essentiality of matter, so the creation 
of the world out of nothing imports simply the non- essentiality, 
the nothingness of the world. The commencement of a thing 
is immediately connected, in idea if not in time, with its end. 
"Lightly come, lightly go." The will has called it into 
existence the will calls it back again into nothing. When ? 
The time is indifferent : its existence or non-existence depends 
only on the will. But this will is not its own will : not only 
because a thing cannot will its non-existence, but for the prior 
reason that the world is itself destitute of will. Thus the 
nothingness of the world expresses the power of the will. The 
will that it should exist is, at the same time, the will at least 
the possible will that it should not exist. The existence of 
the world is therefore a momentary, arbitrary, unreliable, i.e., 
unreal existence. 

Creation out of nothing is the highest expression of omni 
potence : but omnipotence is nothing else than subjectivity 
exempting itself from all objective conditions and limitations, 

* " Quare fecit Deus coelum et terrain ? Quia voluit. Voluntas enim Dei 
causa est cceli et terrse et ideo major est voluntas Dei quam ccelum et terra. 
Qui autem dicit : quare voluit facere ccelum et terrain ? majus aliquid quse- 
rit, quam est voluntas Dei, enim majus invenire potest." Augustinus 
(de Genesi adv. Manich. 1. i. c. 2). 


and consecrating this exemption as the highest power and 
reality : nothing else than the ability to posit everything real 
as unreal everything conceivable as possible : nothing else 
than the power of the imagination, or of the will as identical 
with the imagination, the power of self-will.* The strongest 
and most characteristic expression of subjective arbitrari 
ness is, " it has pleased ;" the phrase, " it has pleased God 
to call the world of bodies and spirits into existence," is the 
most undeniable proof that individual subjectivity, individual 
arbitrariness, is regarded as the highest essence the omnipo 
tent world-principle. On this ground, creation out of nothing 
as a work of the Almighty Will falls into the same category 
with miracle, or rather it is the first miracle, not only in time 
but in rank also ; the principle of which all further miracles 
are the spontaneous result. The proof of this is history itself ; 
all miracles have been vindicated, explained, and illustrated by 
appeal to the omnipotence which created the world out of 
nothing. Why should not He who made the world out of 
nothing, make wine out of water, bring human speech from 
the mouth of an ass, and charm water out of a rock ? But 
miracle is, as we shall see further on, only a product and object 
of the imagination, and hence creation out of nothing, as the 
primitive miracle, is of the same character. For this reason 
the doctrine of creation out of nothing has been pronounced a 
supernatural one, to which reason of itself could not have 
attained ; and in proof of this, appeal has been made to the 
fact that the Pagan philosophers represented the world to have 
been formed by the Divine Reason out of already existing 
matter. But this supernatural principle is no other than the 
principle of subjectivity, which in Christianity exalted itself 
to an unlimited, universal monarchy ; whereas the ancient 
philosophers were not subjective enough to regard the ab 
solutely subjective being as the exclusively absolute being, 
because they limited subjectivity by the contemplation of the 
world or reality because to them the world was a truth. 

Creation out of nothing, as identical with miracle, is one 
with Providence ; for the idea of Providence originally, in its 

* A more profound origin of the creation out of nothing lies in the 
emotional nature, as is both directly and indirectly declared in this work. 
But arbitrariness is, in fact, the will of the emotions, their external mani 
festation of force. 


true religious significance, in which it is not yet infringed 
upon and limited hy the unbelieving understanding is one 
with the idea of miracle. The proof of Providence is miracle.* 
Belief in Providence is belief in a power to which all things 
stand at command to be used according to its pleasure, in 
opposition to which all the power of reality is nothing. Provi 
dence cancels the laws of Nature ; it interrupts the course of 
necessity, the iron bond which inevitably binds effects to 
causes ; in short, it is the same unlimited, all-powerful will, 
that called the world into existence out of nothing. Miracle 
is a creatio ex nihilo. He who turns water into wine, makes 
wine out of nothing, for the constituents of wine are not found 
in water ; otherwise, the production of wine would not be a 
miraculous, but a natural act. The only attestation, the only 
proof of Providence is miracle. Thus Providence is an ex 
pression of the same idea as creation out of nothing. Creation 
out of nothing can only be understood and explained in con 
nexion with Providence ; for miracle properly implies nothing 
more than that the miracle worker is the same as he who 
brought forth all things by his mere will God the Creator. 

But Providence has relation essentially to man. It is for 
man's sake that Providence makes of things whatever it pleases : 
it is for man's sake that it supersedes the authority and reality 
of a law otherwise omnipotent. The admiration of Providence 
in Nature, especially in the animal kingdom, is nothing else 
than an admiration of Nature, and therefore belongs merely to 
naturalism, though to a religious naturalism ;f for in Nature 
is revealed only natural, not divine Providence not Pro 
vidence as it is an object to religion. Keligious Providence 
reveals itself only in miracles especially in the miracle of the 
Incarnation, the central point of religion. But we nowhere 
read that God, for the sake of brutes, became a brute the very 

* " Certissimum divinse providentise testimonium prsebent miracula." 
H. Grotius (de Verit. Eel. Christ. 1. i. 13). 

f It is true that religious naturalism, or the acknowledgment of the 
Divine in Nature, is also an element of the Christian religion, and yet more 
of the Mosaic, which was so friendly to animals. But it is by no means 
the characteristic, the Christian tendency of the Christian religion. The 
Christian, the religious Providence, is quite another than that which clothes 
the lilies and feeds the ravens. The natural Providence lets a man sink in 
the water, if he has not learned to swim ; but the Christian, the religious 
Providence, leads him with the hand of omnipotence over the water un 


idea of this is, in the eyes of religion, impious and ungodly ; 
or that God ever performed a miracle for the sake of animals or 
plants. On the contrary, we read that a poor fig-tree, because it 
bore no fruit at a time when it could not bear it, was cursed, 
purely in order to give men an example of the power of faith 
over Nature ; and again, that when the tormenting devils were 
driven out of men, they were driven into brutes. It is true 
we also read : " No sparrow falls to the ground without your 
Father;" but these sparrows have 110 more worth and importance 
than the hairs on the head of a man, which are all numbered. 

Apart from instinct, the brute has no other guardian spirit, 
no other Providence, than its senses or its organs in general. 
A bird which loses its eyes has lost its guardian angel; it neces 
sarily goes to destruction if no miracle happens. We read 
indeed that a raven brought food to the prophet Elijah, but 
not (at least to my knowledge) that an animal was supported 
by other than natural means. But if a man believes that 
he also has no other Providence than the powers of his 
race his senses and understanding, he is in the eyes of 
religion, and of all those who speak the language of religion, 
an irreligious man ; because he believes only in a natural Pro 
vidence, and a natural Providence is in the eyes of religion as 
good as none. Hence Providence has relation essentially to 
men, and even among men only to the religious. " God is the 
Saviour of all men, but especially of them that believe." It 
belongs, like religion, only to man ; it is intended to express 
the essential distinction of man from the brute, to rescue man 
from the tyranny of the forces of Nature. Jonah in the whale, 
Daniel in the den of lions, are examples of the manner in 
which Providence distinguishes (religious) men from brutes. 
If therefore the Providence which manifests itself in the organs 
with which animals catch and devour their prey, and which is 
so greatly admired by Christian naturalists, is a truth, the Pro 
vidence of the Bible, the Providence of religion, is a falsehood ; 
and vice versa-. What pitiable and at the same time ludicrous 
hypocrisy is the attempt to do homage to both, to Nature and 
the Bible at once ! How does Nature contradict the Bible ! 
How does the Bible contradict Nature ! The God of Nature 
reveals himself by giving to the lion strength and appropriate 
organs in order that, for the preservation of his life, he may in 
case of necessity kill and devour even a human being ; 
the God of the Bible reveals himself by interposing his 


own aid to rescue the human being from the jaws of the 
lion !* 

Providence is a privilege of man. It expresses the value of 
man, in distinction from other natural beings and things ; it 
exempts him from the connexion of the universe. Providence 
is the conviction of man of the infinite value of his existence, 
a conviction in which he renounces faith in the reality of exter 
nal things ; it is the idealism of religion. Faith in Providence 
is therefore identical with faith in personal immortality ; save 
only, that in the latter the infinite value of existence is 
expressed in relation to time, as infinite duration. He who 
prefers no special claims, who is indifferent about himself, 
who identifies himself with the world, who sees himself as a 
part merged in the whole, such a one believes in no Provi 
dence, i.e., in no special Providence ; but only special Providence 
is Providence in the sense of religion. Faith in Providence is 
faith in one's own worth, the faith of man in himself; hence 
the beneficent consequences of this faith, but hence also 
false humility, religious arrogance, which, it is true, does not 
rely on itself, but only because it commits the care of itself to 
the blessed God. God concerns himself about me ; he has in 
view my happiness, my salvation ; he wills that I shall be blest ; 
but that is my will also : thus, my interest is God's interest, 
my own will is God's will, my own aim is God's aim, God's 
love for me nothing else than my self-love deified. Thus when 
I believe in Providence, in what do I believe but in the divine 
reality and significance of my own being ? 

But where Providence is believed in, belief in God is made 
dependent on belief in Providence. He who denies that there 
is a Providence, denies that there is a God, or what is the 
same thing that God is God ; for a God who is not the 
Providence of man, is a contemptible God, a God who is 
wanting in the divinest, most adorable attribute. Conse 
quently, the belief in God is nothing but the belief in human 
dignity,* the belief in the absolute reality and significance of 
the human nature. But belief in a (religious) Providence is 

* In this contrast of the religious, or biblical, and the natural Providence, 
the author had especially in view the vapid, narrow theology of the English 
natural philosophers. 

f " Qui Deos negant, nobilitatem generis humani destruunt." Bacon 
(Serm. Fidel. 16). 


belief in creation out of nothing, and vice versa ; the latter, 
therefore, can have no other significance than that of Provi 
dence as just developed, and it has actually no other. Beligion 
sufficiently expresses this by making man the end of creation. 
All things exist, not for their own sake, but for the sake of 
man. He who, like the pious Christian naturalists, pro 
nounces this to be pride, declares Christianity itself to be 
pride ; for to say that the material world exists for the sake of 
man, implies infinitely less than to say that God or at least, 
if we follow Paul, a being who is almost God, scarcely to be 
distinguished from God becomes man for the sake of men. 

But if man is the end of creation, he is also the true cause 
of creation, for the end is the principle of action. The 
distinction between man as the end of creation, and man as its 
cause, is only that the cause is the latent, inner man, the 
essential man, whereas the end is the self-evident, empirical, 
individual man, that man recognises himself as the end of 
creation, but not as the cause, because he distinguishes the 
cause, the essence from himself as another personal being.* 
But this other being, this creative principle, is in fact nothing 
else than his subjective nature separated from the limits of 
individuality and materiality, i.e., of objectivity, unlimited will, 
personality posited out of all connexion with the world, 
which by creation, i.e., the positing of the w~orld, of objectivity, 
of another, as a dependent, finite, non-essential existence, 
gives itself the certainty of its exclusive reality. The point 
in question in the Creation is not the truth and reality of the 
world, but the truth and reality of personality, of subjectivity 
in distinction from the world. The point in question is the 
personality of God ; but the personality of God is the 

* In Clemens Alex. (Coh. ad Gentes) there is an interesting passage. It 
runs in the Latin translation (the bad Augsburg edition, 1778) thus : 
" At nos ante mundi constitutionem tuimus, ratione futures nostrse pro- 
ductionis, in ipso Deo quodammodo turn praeexistentes, Pivini igitur 
Verbi sive Rationis, nos creaturse rationales sumus, et per eum primi esse 
dicimur, quoniam in principio erat verbum." Yet more decidedly, however, 
has Christian mysticism declared the human nature to be the creative prin 
ciple, the ground of the world. " Man, who, before time was, existed in 
eternity, works with God all the works that God wrought a thousand 
years ago, and now, after a thousand years, still works." " All creatures 
have sprung forth through man," Predigten, vor u, zu Tauleri Zeiten 
(Ed. c. p. 5. p. 119.) 

F 3 


personality of man freed from all the conditions and limita 
tions of Nature. Hence the fervent interest in the Creation, 
the horror of all pantheistic cosmogonies. The Creation, like 
the idea of a personal God in general, is not a scientific, but 
a personal matter; not an object of the free intelligence, but 
of the feelings ; for the point on which it hinges is only the 
guarantee, the last conceivable proof and demonstration of 
personality or subjectivity as an essence quite apart, having 
nothing in common with Nature, a supra-and extramundane 

Man distinguishes himself from Nature. This distinction of 
his is his God : the distinguishing of God from Nature is 
nothing else than the distinguishing of man from Nature. 
The antithesis of pantheism and personalism resolves itself 
into the question : is the nature of man transcendental or 
immanent, supranaturalistic or naturalistic ? The speculations 
and controversies concerning the personality or impersonality 
of God are therefore fruitless, idle, uncritical, and odious; 
for the speculatists, especially those who maintain the person 
ality, do not call the thing by the right name ; they put the 
light under a bushel. While they in truth speculate only 
concerning themselves, only in the interest of their own 
instinct of self-preservation ; they yet will not allow that 
they are splitting their brains only about themselves; they 
speculate under the delusion that they are searching out the 
mysteries of another being. Pantheism identifies man with 
Nature, whether with its visible appearance, or its abstract 
essence, Personalism isolates, separates him from Nature ; 
converts him from a part into the whole, into an absolute 
essence by himself. This is the distinction. If, therefore, you 
would be clear on these subjects, exchange your mystical, 
perverted anthropology, which you call theology, for real 
anthropology, and speculate in the light of consciousness and 
Nature concerning the difference or identity of the human 
essence with the essence of Nature. You yourselves admit 
that the essence of the pantheistical God is nothing but the 
essence of Nature. Why, then, will you only see the mote in 

* Hence is explained why all attempts of speculative theology and of its 
kindred philosophy to make the transition from God to the world, or to 
derive the world from God, have failed and must fail. Namely, because 
they are fundamentally false, from being made in ignorance of the idea on 
which the Creation really turns. 


the eyes of your opponents, and not observe the very obvious 
beam in your own eyes ? why make yourselves an exception to 
a universally valid law? Admit that your personal God is 
nothing else than your own personal nature, that while you 
believe in and construct your supra- and extra-natural God, 
you believe in and construct nothing else than the supra-and 
extranaturalism of your own self. 

In the Creation, as everywhere else, the true principle is 
concealed by the intermingling of universal, metaphysical, 
and even pantheistic definitions. But one need only be 
attentive to the closer definitions to convince oneself that 
the true principle of creation is the self-affirmation of sub 
jectivity in distinction from Nature. God produces the world 
outside himself; at first it is only an idea, a plan, a resolve; 
now it becomes an act, and therewith it steps forth out of God 
as a distinct and, relatively at least, a self-subsistent object. 
But just so subjectivity in general, which distinguishes itself 
from the world, which takes itself for an essence distinct from 
the world, posits the world out of itself as a separate existence, 
indeed, this positing out of self, and the distinguishing of self, 
is one act. When therefore the world is posited outside of 
God, God is posited by himself, is distinguished from the 
world. What else then is God but your subjective nature, 
when the w r orld is separated from it ?* It is true that when 
astute reflection intervenes, the distinction between extra 
and intra is disavowed as a finite and human (?) distinction. 
But to the disavowal by the understanding, which in rela 
tion to religion is pure misunderstanding, no credit is due. If 
it is meant seriously, it destroys the foundation of the religious 
consciousness ; it does away with the possibility, the very prin 
ciple of the creation, for this rests solely on the reality of the 
abovementioned distinction. Moreover, the effect of the crea- 

* It is not admissible to urge against this the omnipresence of God, the 
existence of God in all things, or the existence of things in God. For, 
apart from the consideration that the future destruction of the world 
expresses clearly enough its existence outside of God, i.e., its non-divine- 
ness, God is in a special manner only in man ; but I am at home only 
where I am specially at home. " Nowhere is God properly God, but in the 
soul. In all creatures there is something of God; hut in the soul God exists 
completely, for it is his resting-place." Predigten etzlicher Lehrer, &c., 
p. 19. And the existence of things in God, especially where it has no panthe 
istic significance, and any such is here excluded, is equally an idea without 
reality, and does not express the special sentiments of religion. 


tion, all its majesty for the feelings and the imagination, is 
quite lost, if the production of the world out of God is not 
taken in the real sense. What is it to make, to create, to 
produce, hut to make that which in the first instance is only 
subjective, and so far invisible, non-existent, into something 
objective, perceptible, so that other beings besides me may 
know and enjoy it, and thus to put something out of myself, 
to make it distinct from myself ? Where there is no reality or 
possibility of an existence external to me, there can be no 
question of making or creating. God is eternal, but the world 
had a commencement ; God was, when as yet the world was 
not ; God is invisible, not cognizable by the senses, but the 
world is visible, palpable, material, and therefore outside of 
God ; for how can the material as such, body, matter, be in 
God ? The world exists outside of God, in the same sense in 
which a tree, an animal, the world in general, exists outside of 
my conception, outside of myself, is an existence distinct from 
subjectivity. Hence, only when such an external existence is 
admitted, as it was by the older philosophers and theologians, 
have we the genuine, unmixed doctrine of the religious con 
sciousness. The speculative theologians and philosophers of 
modern times, on the contrary, foist in all sorts of pantheistic 
definitions, although they deny the principle of pantheism ; 
and the result of this process is simply an absolutely self- 
contradictory, insupportable fabrication of their own. 

Thus the creation of the world expresses nothing else than 
subjectivity, assuring itself of its own reality and infinity 
through the consciousness that the world is created, is a pro 
duct of will, i.e., a dependent, powerless, unsubstantial exist 
ence. The "nothing" out of which the world was produced, 
is a still inherent nothingness. When thou sayest the world 
was made out of nothing, thou conceivest the world itself as 
nothing, thou clearest away from thy head all the limits to thy 
imagination, to thy feelings, to thy will, for the world is the 
limitation of thy will, of thy desire ; the world alone obstructs 
thy soul; it alone is the wall of separation between thee 
and God, thy beatified, perfected nature. Thus, subjec 
tively, thou annihilatest the world ; thou thinkest God by him 
self, i.e., absolutely unlimited subjectivity, the subjectivity or 
soul which enjoys itself alone, which needs not the world, 
which knows nothing of the painful bonds of matter. In the 
inmost depths of thy soul thou wouldest rather there were no 


world, for where the world is, there is matter, and where there 
is matter there is weight and resistance, space and time, limit 
ation and necessity. Nevertheless, there is a world, there is 
matter. How dost thou escape from the dilemma of this con 
tradiction ? How dost thou expel the world from thy con 
sciousness, that it may not disturb thee in the beatitude of the 
unlimited soul ? Only by making the world itself a product 
of will, by giving it an arbitrary existence always hovering 
between existence and non-existence, always awaiting its anni 
hilation. Certainly the act of creation does not suffice to ex 
plain the existence of the world or matter (the two are not 
separable), but it is a total misconception to demand this of 
it, for the fundamental idea of the creation is this : there is to 
be no world, no matter; and hence its end is daily looked 
forward to with longing. The world in its truth does not here 
exist at all, it is regarded only as the obstruction, the limita 
tion of subjectivity; how could the world in its truth and 
reality be deduced from a principle which denies the world? 

In order to recognise the above developed significance of the 
creation as the true one, it is only necessary seriously to con 
sider the fact, that the chief point in the creation is not the 
production of earth and water, plants and animals, for which 
indeed there is no God, but the production of personal beings 
of spirits, according to the ordinary phrase. God is the idea 
of personality as itself a person, subjectivity existing in itself 
apart from the world, existing for self alone, without wants, 
posited as absolute existence, the me without a thee. But as 
absolute existence for self alone contradicts the idea of true 
life, the idea of love ; as self-consciousness is essentially united 
with the consciousness of a thee, as solitude cannot, at least in 
perpetuity, preserve itself from tedium and uniformity ; thought 
immediately proceeds from the divine Being to other conscious 
beings, and expands the idea of personality which was at first 
condensed in one being to a plurality of persons.* If the 

* Here is also the point where the Creation represents to us not only 
the Divine power, but also the Divine love. " Quia bonus est (Deus), sumus." 
(Augustin.) In the beginning, before the world, God was alone. " Ante 
omnia Deus erat solus, ipsi sibi et mundus et locus et omnia. Solus autem ; 
quia nihil extrinsecus prseter ipsum." (Tertullian.) But there is no higher 
happiness than to make another happy, bliss lies in the act of imparting. 
And only joy, only love imparts. Hence man conceives imparting love as 
the principle of existence. " Extasis boni non sinit ipsum manere in se ipso." 


person is conceived physically, as a real man, in which form he 
is a being with wants, he appears first at the end of the physical 
world, when the conditions of his existence are present, as the 
goal of creation. If, on the other hand, man is conceived 
abstractly as a person, as is the case in religious speculation, 
this circuit is dispensed with, and the task is the direct deduc 
tion of the person, i.e., the self-demonstration, the ultimate 
self- verification of the human personality. It is true that the 
divine personality is distinguished in every possible way from 
the human in order to veil their identity ; but these distinctions 
are either purely fantastic, or they are mere assertions, devices 
which exhibit the invalidity of the attempted deduction. All 
positive grounds of the creation reduce themselves only to the 
conditions, to the grounds, which urge upon the me the con 
sciousness of the necessity of another personal being. Specu 
late as much as you will, you will never derive your personality 
from God, if you have not beforehand introduced it, if God 
himself be not already the idea of your personality, your own 
subjective nature. 

(Dionysius A.) Everything positive establishes, attests itself, only t>y 
itself. The divine love is the joy of life, establishing itself, affirming itself. 
But the highest self-consciousness of life, the supreme joy of life is the love 
which confers happiness. God is the bliss of existence. 



THE doctrine of the Creation sprang out of Judaism ; indeed, 
it is the characteristic, the fundamental doctrine of the Jewish 
religion. The principle which lies at its foundation is, how 
ever, not so much the principle of subjectivity as of egoism. 
The doctrine of the Creation in its characteristic significance 
arises only on that stand-point where man in practice makes 
Nature merely the servant of his will and needs, and hence in 
thought also degrades it to a mere machine, a product of the 
will. Now its existence is intelligible to him, since he explains 
and interprets it out of himself, in accordance with his own 
feelings and notions. The question, Whence is Nature or the 
world ? presupposes wonder that it exists, or the question, 
Why does it exist ? But this wonder, this question, arises only 
where man has separated himself from Nature and made it a 
mere object of will. The author of the Book of Wisdom says 
truly of the heathens, that, " for admiration of the beauty of 
the world they did not raise themselves to the idea of the 
Creator." To him who feels that Nature is lovely, it appears 
an end in itself, it has the ground of its existence in itself : in 
him the question, Why does it exist ? does not arise. Nature 
and God are identified in his consciousness, his percep 
tion, of the world. Nature, as it impresses his senses, has 
indeed had an origin, has been produced, but not created 
in the religious sense, is not an arbitrary product. And 
by this origin he implies nothing evil ; originating involves 
for him nothing impure, undivine ; he conceives his gods 
themselves as having had an origin. The generative force 
is to him the primal force : he posits, therefore, as the 
ground of Nature, a force of Nature, a real, present, visibly 
active force, as the ground of reality. Thus does man think 
where his relation to the world is assthetic or theoretic, (for the 


theoretic view was originally the aesthetic view, the prima phi- 
losophia,) where the idea of the world is to him the idea of the 
Cosmos, of majesty, of deity itself. Only where such a theory 
was the fundamental principle could there be conceived and 
expressed such a thought as that of Anaxagoras : man is born 
to behold the world.* The stand-point of theory is the stand 
point of harmony with the world. The subjective activity, that 
in which man contents himself, allows himself free play, is here 
the sensuous imagination alone. Satisfied with this, he lets 
Nature subsist in peace, and constructs his castles in the air, 
his poetical cosmogonies, only out of natural materials. When, 
on the contrary, man places himself only on the practical stand 
point and looks at the world from thence, making the practical 
stand-point the theoretical one also, he is in disunion with 
Nature; he makes Nature the abject vassal of his selfish 
interest, of his practical egoism. The theoretic expression of 
this egoistical, practical view, according to which Nature is 
in itself nothing, is this : Nature or the world is made, created, 
the product of a command. God said, Let the world be, and 
straightway the world presented itself at His bidding, t 

Utilism is the essential theory of Judaism. The belief in a 
special Divine Providence is the characteristic belief of 
Judaism; belief in Providence is belief in miracle ; but belief 
in miracle exists where Nature is regarded only as an object 
of arbitrariness, of egoism, which uses Nature only as an instru 
ment of its own will and pleasure. Water divides or rolls itself 
together like a firm mass, dust is changed into lice, a staff into 
a serpent, rivers into blood, a rock into a fountain ; in the same 
place it is both light and dark at once, the sun now stands still, 
now goes backward. And all these contradictions of Nature 
happen for the welfare of Israel, purely at the command of 
Jehovah, who troubles himself about nothing but Israel, who is 

* In Diogenes (L. 1. ii. c. iii. 6), it is literally, " for the contemplation 
of the sun, the moon and the heavens." Similar ideas were held by other 
philosophers. Thus the Stoics also said : " Ipse autem homo ortus est ad 
mundum contemplandum et imitandum." Cic. (de Nat.) 

f " Hebraei numen verbo quidquid videtur efficiens describunt et quasi im- 
perio omnia creata tradunt, ut facilitatem in eo quod vult efficiendo, 
summamque ejus in omnia potentiam ostendant." Ps. xxxiii. 6. " Verbo 
Jehovae eoeli facti sunt." Ps. cxlviii. 5. " Ille jussit eaque creata sunt." J. 
Clericus (Comment, in Mosem. Genes, i. 3). 


nothing but the personified selfishness of the Israelitish people, 
to the exclusion of all other nations, absolute intolerance, the 
secret essence of monotheism. 

The Greeks looked at Nature with the theoretic sense ; they 
heard heavenly music in the harmonious course of the stars ; 
they saw Nature rise from the foam of the all-producing ocean 
as Venus Anadyomene. The Israelites, on the contrary, 
opened to Nature only the gastric sense ; their taste for Nature 
lay only in the palate ; their consciousness of God in eating 
manna. The Greek addicted himself to polite studies, to the 
fine arts, to philosophy ; the Israelite did not rise above the 
alimentary view of theology. " At even ye shall eat flesh, and 
in the morning ye shall be filled with bread ; and ye shall know 
that I am the Lord your God."* " And Jacob vowed a vow, 
saying, ' If God will be with me, and will keep me in this way 
that I go, and will give me bread to eat, and raiment to put on, so 
that I come again to my father's house in peace, then shall the 
Lord be my God."t Eating is the most solemn act or the 
initiation of the Jewish religion. In eating the Israelite 
celebrates and renews the act of creation ; in eating man 
declares Nature to be an insignificant object. When the 
seventy elders ascended the mountain with Moses, " they saw 
God ; and when they had seen God, they ate and drank." t 
Thus with them what the sight of the Supreme Being height 
ened was the appetite for food. 

The Jews have maintained their peculiarity to this day. 
Their principle, their God, is the most practical principle in 
the world, namely, egoism : and moreover egoism in the form 
of religion. Egoism is the God who will not let his servants 
come to shame. Egoism is essentially monotheistic, for it has 
only one, only self, as its end. Egoism strengthens cohesion, 
concentrates man on himself, gives him a consistent principle 
of life ; but it makes him theoretically narrow, because in 
different to all which does not relate to the well-being of self. 
Hence science, like art, arises only out of polytheism, for 
polytheism is the frank, open, unenvying sense of all that is 
beautiful and good without distinction, the sense of the world, 
of the universe. The Greeks looked abroad into the wide 

* Exod. xvi. 12. f Gen. xxviii. 20. 

Exod. xxiv. 10, 11. "Tantum abest ut mortui sint, ut contra convivium 
hilares celebrarint." Clericus. 


world that they might extend their sphere of vision ; the Jews 
to this day pray with their faces turned towards Jerusalem. 
In the Israelites, monotheistic egoism excluded the free 
theoretic tendency. Solomon, it is true, surpassed " all 
the children of the east" in understanding and wisdom, and 
spoke (treated, agebat) moreover " of trees, from the cedar that 
is in Lebanon, even unto the hyssop that springeth out of the 
wall," and also of " beasts and of fowl, and of creeping things, 
and of fishes" (1 Kings iv. 30, 34). But it must be added 
that Solomon did not serve Jehovah with his whole heart ; he 
did homage to strange gods and strange women ; and thus he 
had the polytheistic sentiment and taste. The polytheistic 
sentiment, I repeat, is the foundation of science and art. 

The significance which nature in general had for the Hebrews 
is one with their idea of its origin. The mode in which the genesis 
of a thing is explained is the candid expression of opinion, of sen 
timent respecting it. If it be thought meanly of, so also is its 
origin. Men used to suppose that insects, vermin, sprang from 
carrion, and other rubbish. It was not because they derived 
vermin from so uninviting a source, that they thought con 
temptuously of them ; but, on the contrary, because they 
thought thus, because the nature of vermin appeared to them 
so vile, they imagined an origin corresponding to this nature, a 
vile origin. To the Jews Nature was a mere means towards 
achieving the end of egoism, a mere object of will. But the 
ideal, the idol of the egoistic will is that Will which has un 
limited command, which requires no means in order to attain 
its end, to realize its object, which immediately by itself, i. e., 
by pure will, calls into existence whatever it pleases. It pains 
the egoist that the satisfaction of his wishes and need is only 
to be attained immediately, that for him there is a chasm 
between the wish and its realization, between the object in the 
imagination and the object in reality. Hence, in order to 
relieve this pain, to make himself free from the limits of reality, 
he supposes as the true, the highest being, one who brings 
forth an object by the mere I WILL. For this reason, Nature, 
the world, was to the Hebrews the product of a dictatorial 
word, of a categorical imperative, of a magic fiat. 

To that which has no essential existence for me in theory, 
I assign no theoretic, no positive ground. By referring it to 
Will I only enforce its theoretic nullity. What we despise we 
do not honour with a glance : that which is observed has im- 


portance : contemplation is respect. Whatever is looked at 
fetters by secret forces of attraction, overpowers, by the spell 
which it exercises upon the eye, the criminal arrogance of that 
Will which seeks only to subject all things to itself. What 
ever makes an impression on the theoretic sense, on the rea 
son, withdraws itself from the dominion of the egoistic Will : it 
reacts, it presents resistance. That which devastating egoism 
devotes to death, benignant theory restores to life. 

The much-belied doctrine of the heathen philosophers con 
cerning the eternity of matter, or the world, thus implies 
nothing more than that Nature was to them a theoretic reality.* 
The heathens were idolaters, that is, they contemplated Nature ; 
they did nothing else than what the profoundly Christian 
nations do at this day, when they make nature an object of 
their admiration, of their indefatigable investigation. " But 
the heathens actually worshipped natural objects." Certainly ; 
for worship is only the childish, the religious form of contem 
plation. Contemplation and worship are not essentially dis 
tinguished. That which I contemplate I humble myself before, 
I consecrate to it my noblest possession, my heart, my intel 
ligence, as an offering. The natural philosopher also falls on 
his knees before Nature when, at the risk of his life, he snatches 
from some precipice a lichen, an insect, or a stone, to glorify it 
in the light of contemplation, and give it an eternal existence 
in the memory of scientific humanity. The study of Nature is 
the worship of Nature idolatry in the sense of the Israeli tish 
and Christian God ; and idolatry is simply man's primitive 
contemplation of nature ; for religion is nothing else than man's 
primitive and therefore childish, popular, but prejudiced, un- 
emancipated consciousness of himself and of Nature. The 
Hebrews, on the other hand, raised themselves from the wor 
ship of idols to the worship of God, from the creature to the 
Creator; i. e., they raised themselves from the theoretic view of 
Nature, which fascinated the idolaters, to the purely practical 
view which subjects Nature only to the ends of egoism. " And 
lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest 
the sun, the moon, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, 

* It is well known, however, that their opinions on this point were various. 
(See e. g. Aristoteles de Coelo, 1. i. c. 10.) But their difference is a subordi 
nate one, since the creative agency itself is with them a more or less cosmical 


sliouldst be driven to worship them and serve them, which the 
Lord thy God hath divided unto \i. e., bestowed upon, largitus 
est] all nations under the whole heaven."* Thus, the creation 
out of nothing, i. e., the creation as a purely imperious act, had 
its origin only in the unfathomable depth of Hebrew egoism. 

On this ground, also, the creation out of nothing is no object 
of philosophy ; at least in any other way than it is so here ; 
for it cuts away the root of all true speculation, presents no 
grappling-point to thought, to theory ; theoretically considered, 
it is a baseless air-built doctrine, which originated solely in the 
need to give a warrant to utilism, to egoism, which contains 
and expresses nothing but the command to make Nature 
not an object of thought, of contemplation, but an object 
of utilization. The more empty it is, however, for natural 
philosophy, the more profound is its " speculative" significance; 
for just because it has no theoretic fulcrum, it allows to the 
speculatist infinite room for the play of arbitrary, groundless 

It is in the history of dogma and speculation as in the history 
of states. World-old usages, laws, and institutions, continue to 
drag out their existence long after they have lost their true 
meaning. What has once existed will not be denied the right 
to exist for ever ; what was once good, claims to be good for 
all times. At this period of superannuation come the inter 
preters, the speculatists, and talk of the profound sense, because 
they no longer know the true one.f Thus, religious specula 
tion deals with the dogmas, torn from the connexion in which 
alone they have any true meaning ; instead of tracing them 
back critically to their true origin, it makes the secondary 
primitive, and the primitive secondary. To it God is the first; 
man the second. Thus it inverts the natural order of things ! 
In reality, the first is man, the second the nature of man made 
objective, namely, God. Only in later times, in which religion is 

* Deut. iv. 19. " Licet enim ea, quse sunt in coelo, non sint liominum ar- 
tificia, at hominum tamen gratia condita fuerunt. Ne quis igitur solem 
adoret, sed soils effectorem desideret." Clemens Alex. (Coh. ad Gentes). 

f But of course they only do this in the case of the " absolute religion;" 
for with regard to other religions they hold up the ideas and customs which 
are foreign to us, and of which we do not know the original meaning and 
purpose, as senseless and ludicrous. And yet, in fact, to worship the urine 
of cows, which the Parsees and Hindoos drink that they may obtain 
forgiveness of sins, is not more ludicrous than to worship the comb or a 
shred of the garment of the Mother of God. 


already become flesh and blood, can it be said as God is, so is 
man : although, indeed, this proposition never amounts to any 
thing more than tautology. But in the origin of religion it is 
otherwise; and it is only in the origin of a thing that we can 
discern its true nature. Man first unconsciously and involun 
tarily creates God in his own image, and after this God con 
sciously and voluntarily creates man in his own image. This 
is especially confirmed by the development of the Israelitish 
religion. Hence the position of theological one-sidedness, that 
the revelation of God holds an even pace with the development 
of the human race. Naturally ; for the revelation of God is 
nothing else than the revelation, the self-unfolding of human 
nature. The supranaturalistic egoism of the Jews did not 
proceed from the Creator, but conversely, the latter from the 
former ; in the creation the Israelite justified his egoism at 
the bar of his reason. 

It is true, and it may be readily understood on simply prac 
tical grounds, that even the Israelite could not, as a man, 
withdraw himself from the theoretic contemplation and admi 
ration of Nature. But in celebrating the power and greatness 
of Nature, he celebrates only the power and greatness of Je 
hovah. And the power of Jehovah has exhibited itself with 
the most glory, in the miracles which it has wrought in favour 
of Israel. Hence, in the celebration of this power the Israelite 
has always reference ultimately to himself ; he extols the great 
ness of Nature only for the same reason that the conqueror 
magnifies the strength of his opponent, in order thereby to 
heighten his own self-complacency, to make his own fame more 
illustrious. Great and mighty is Nature, which Jehovah has 
created, but yet mightier, yet greater, is Israel's self- estimation. 
For his sake the sun stands still ; for his sake, according to 
Philo, the earth quaked at the delivery of the law ; in short, 
for his sake all nature alters its course. "For the whole crea 
ture in his proper kind, was fashioned again anew, serving the 
peculiar commandments that were given unto them, that thy 
children might be kept without hurt."* According to Philo, 
God gave Moses power over the whole of Nature; all the 
elements obeyed him as the Lord of Nature. t Israel's require 
ment is the omnipotent law of the world, Israel's need the fate 
of the universe. Jehovah is Israel's consciousness of the 

* Wisd. xix. 6. f See Gfrorer's Philo. 


sacredness and necessity of his own existence, a necessity 
before which the existence of Nature, the existence of other 
nations vanishes into nothing; Jehovah is the salus populi, 
the salvation of Israel, to which everything that stands in its 
way must he sacrificed ; Jehovah is exclusive, monarchical 
arrogance, the annihilating flash of anger in the vindictive 
glance of destroying Israel ; in a word, Jehovah is the ego of 
Israel, which regards itself as the end and aim, the Lord of 
Nature. Thus, in the power of Nature the Israelite celebrates 
the power of Jehovah, and in the power of Jehovah the power 
of his own self-consciousness. " Blessed he God ! God is our 
help, God is our salvation." "Jehovah is my strength." 
*' God himself hearkened to the word of Joshua, for Jehovah 
himself fought for Israel." " Jehovah is a God of war." 

If, in the course of time, the idea of Jehovah expanded itself 
in individual minds, and his love was extended, as by the 
writer of the book of Jonah, to man in general, this does not 
belong to the essential character of the Israelitish religion. 
The God of the fathers, to whom the most precious recollec 
tions are attached, the ancient historical God, remains always 
the foundation of a religion.* 

* We may here observe, that certainly the admiration of the power and 
glory of God in general, and so of Jehovah, as manifested in Nature, is in 
fact, though not in the consciousness of the Israelite, only admiration of the 
power and glory of Nature. (See, on this subject, P. Sayle, Ein 
Beitrag, Sfc., p. 25 29.) But to prove this formally lies out of our 
plan, since we here confine ourselves to Christianity, i. e., the adoration of 
God in man (Deum colimus per Christum. Tertullian. Apolog. c, 21). 
Nevertheless, the principle of this proof is stated in the present work. 




ISRAEL is the historical definition of the specific nature of the 
religious consciousness, save only that here this consciousness 
was circumscribed by the limits of a particular, a national in 
terest. Hence, we need only let these limits fall, and we 
have the Christian religion. Judaism is worldly Christianity; 
Christianity, spiritual Judaism. The Christian religion is the 
Jewish religion purified from national egoism, and yet at the 
same time it is certainly another, a new religion; for every 
reformation, every purification, produces especially in religious 
matters, where even the trivial becomes important an essen 
tial change. To the Jew, the Israelite was the mediator, the 
bond between God and man ; in his relation to Jehovah he 
relied on his character of Israelite ; Jehovah himself was 
nothing else than the self-consciousness of Israel made 
objective as the absolute being, the national conscience, 
the universal law, the central point of the political system. * 
If we let fall the limits of nationality, we obtain instead of 
the Israelite man. As in Jehovah the Israelite personified 
his national existence, so in God the Christian personified his 
subjective human nature, freed from the limits of nationality. 
As Israel made the wants of his national existence the law of 
the world, as, under the dominance of these wants, he deified 
even his political vindictiveness : so the Christian made the 
requirements of human feeling the absolute powers and laws of 
the world. The miracles of Christianity, which belong just as 
essentially to its characterization, as the miracles of the Old 
Testament to that of Judaism, have not the welfare of a nation 
for their object, but the welfare of man : that is, indeed, only 
of man considered as Christian; for Christianity, in contra- 

* " The greater part of Hebrew poetry, which is often held to be only 
spiritual, is political." Herder. 


diction with the genuine universal human heart, recognised 
man only under the condition, the limitation, of belief in 
Christ. But this fatal limitation will be discussed further 
on. Christianity has spiritualised the egoism of Judaism into 
subjectivity (though even within Christianity this subjectivity 
is again expressed as pure egoism), has changed the desire for 
earthly happiness, the goal of the Israelitish religion, into the 
longing for heavenly bliss, which is the goal of Christianity. 

The highest idea, the God of a political community, of a 
people whose political system expresses itself in the form of 
religion, is Law, the consciousness of the law as an abso 
lute divine power; the highest idea, the God of unpolitical, 
unworldly feeling is Love ; the love which brings all the 
treasures and glories in heaven and upon earth as an offering 
to the beloved, the love whose law is the wish of the beloved 
one, and whose power is the unlimited power of the imagination, 
of intellectual miracle-working. 

God is the Love that satisfies our wishes, our emotional 
wants; he is himself the realized wish of the heart, the 
wish exalted to the certainty of its fulfilment, of its reality, 
to that undoubting certainty before which no contradiction of 
the understanding, no difficulty of experience or of the ex 
ternal world maintains its ground. Certainty is the highest 
power for man ; that which is certain to him is the essential, 
the divine. " God is love : " this, the supreme dictum of Chris 
tianity, only expresses the certainty which human feeling has 
of itself, as the alone essential, i.e., absolute divine power, 
the certainty that the inmost wishes of the heart have objective 
validity and reality, that there are 110 limits, no positive 
obstacles to human feeling, that the whole world, with all its 
pomp and glory, is nothing weighed against human feeling. 
God is love: that is, feeling is the God of man, nay, God 
absolutely, the Absolute Being. God is the nature of human 
feeling, unlimited, pure feeling, made objective. God is the 
optative of the human heart transformed into the tempus 
finitum,tlie certain, blissful "is," the unrestricted omnipotence 
of feeling, prayer hearing itself, feeling perceiving itself, the 
echo of our cry of anguish. Pain must give itself utterance ; 
involuntarily the artist seizes the lute, that he may breathe out 
his sufferings in its tones. He soothes his sorrow by making 
it audible to himself, by making it objective ; he lightens the 
burden which weighs upon his heart, by communicating 


it to the air, by making his sorrow a general existence. But 
nature listens not to the plaints of man, it is callous to his 
sorrows. Hence man turns away from Nature, from all visible 
objects. He turns within, that here, sheltered and hidden 
from the inexorable powers, he may find audience for his 
griefs. Here he utters his oppressive secrets ; here he gives 
vent to his stifled sighs. This open-air of the heart, this 
outspoken secret, this uttered sorrow of the soul, is God. 
God is a tear of love, shed in the deepest concealment, over 
human misery. " God is an unutterable sigh, lying in the 
depths of the heart;"* this saying is the most remarkable, 
the profoundest, truest expression of Christian mysticism. 

The ultimate essence of religion is revealed by the simplest 
act of religion prayer ; an act which implies at least as much 
as the dogma of the Incarnation, although religious specula 
tion stands amazed at this, as the greatest of mysteries. Not, 
certainly, the prayer before and after meals, the ritual of 
animal egoism, but the prayer pregnant with sorrow, the prayer 
of disconsolate love, the prayer which expresses the power of 
the heart that crushes man to the ground, the prayer which 
begins in despair and ends in rapture. 

In prayer, man addresses God with the word of intimate 
affection Thou ; he thus declares articulately that God is 
his alter ego; he confesses to God as the being nearest to him, 
his most secret thoughts, his deepest wishes, which otherwise 
he shrinks from uttering. But he expresses these wishes in 
the confidence, in the certainty that they will be fulfilled. 
How could he apply to a being that had no ear for his com 
plaints ? Thus what is prayer but the wish of the heart 
expressed with confidence in its fulfilment ? f what else is the 

* Sebastian Frank vonWord in Zinkgrefs Apophthegm ata deutscher Nation. 

f It would be an imbecile objection, to say that God fulfils only those 
wishes, those prayers, which are uttered in his name, or in the interest of 
the church of Christ, in short, only the wishes which are accordant with 
his will; for the will of God is the will of man, or rather God has the 
power, man the will : God makes men happy, but man wills that he may 
be happy. A particular wish may not be granted ; but that is of no con 
sequence, if only the species, the essential tendency is accepted. The pious 
soul whose pra} r er has failed, consoles himself, therefore, by thinking that its 
fulfilment would not have been salutary for him. " Nullo igitur modo vota 
aut preces sunt irritse aut infrugiferse et recte dicitur, in petitione rerum 
corporalium aliquando Deum exaudire nos, non ad voluntatem nostram, 
sed ad salutem." Oratio de Precatione, in Declamat. Melancthonis, T. iii. 



being that fulfils these wishes but human affection, the human 
soul, giving ear to itself, approving itself, unhesitatingly affirm 
ing itself ? The man who does not exclude from his mind the 
idea of the world, the idea that everything here must be sought 
intermediately, that every effect has its natural cause, that a 
wish is only to be attained when it is made an end and the 
corresponding means are put into operation such a man does 
not pray : he only works ; he transforms his attainable wishes 
into objects of real activity; other wishes which he recognises 
as purely subjective, he denies, or regards as simply subjective, 
pious aspirations. In other words, he limits, he conditionates his 
being by the world, as a member of which he conceives him 
self; he bounds his wishes by the idea of necessity. In prayer, 
on the contrary, man excludes from his mind the world, and 
with it all thoughts of intermediateness and dependence ; he 
makes his wishes the concerns of his heart, objects of the 
independent, omnipotent, absolute being, i.e., he affirms them 
without limitation. God is the affirmation* of human feeling ; 
prayer is the unconditional confidence of human feeling in 
the absolute identity of the subjective and objective, the 
certainty that the power of the heart is greater than the power 
of Nature, that the heart's need is absolute necessity, the Fate 
of the world. Prayer alters the course of Nature ; it determines 
God to bring forth an effect in contradiction with the laws of 
Nature. Prayer is the absolute relation of the human heart to 
itself, to its own nature; in prayer, man forgets that there 
exists a limit to his wishes, and is happy in this forgetfulness. 

Prayer is the self-division of man into two beings, a dialogue 
of man with himself, with his heart. It is essential to the 
effectiveness of prayer that it be audibly, intelligibly, energeti 
cally expressed. Involuntarily prayer wells forth in sound ; 
the struggling heart bursts the barrier of the closed lips. But 
audible prayer is only prayer revealing its nature ; prayer is 
virtually, if not actually, speech, the Latin word oratio sig 
nifies both ; in prayer, man speaks undisguisedly of that which 
weighs upon him, which affects him closely; he makes his 
heart objective; hence the moral power of prayer. Concen 
tration, it is said, is the condition of prayer : but it is more 
than a condition ; prayer is itself concentration, the dismissal 
of all distracting ideas, of all disturbing influences from with- 

* Ja-wort. 


out, retirement within oneself, in order to have relation only 
with one's own being. Only a trusting, open, hearty, fervent 
prayer is said to help ; but this help lies in the prayer itself. 
As everywhere in religion the subjective, the secondary, the con- 
ditionating, is theprima causa, the objective fact ; so here, these 
subjective qualities are the objective nature of prayer itself.* 

It is an extremely superficial view of prayer to regard it as 
an expression of the sense of dependence. It certainly ex 
presses such a sense, but the dependence is that of man on his 
own heart, on his own feeling. He who feels himself only 
dependent, does not open his mouth in prayer; the sense of 
dependence robs him of the desire, the courage for it ; for the 
sense of dependence is the sense of need. Prayer has its root 
rather in the unconditional trust of the heart, untroubled by 
all thought of compulsive need, that its concerns are objects 
of the absolute Being, that the almighty, infinite nature of 
the Father of men, is a sympathetic, tender, loving nature, and 
that thus the dearest, most sacred emotions of man are divine 
realities. But the child does not feel itself dependent on the 
father as a father ; rather, he has in the father the feeling of 
his own strength, the consciousness of his own worth, the 
guarantee of his existence, the certainty of the fulfilment of 
his wishes ; on the father rests the burden of care ; the child, 
on the contrary, lives careless and happy in reliance on the 
father, his visible guardian spirit, who desires nothing but the 
child's welfare and happiness. The father makes the child an 
end, and himself the means of its existence. The child, in 
asking something of its father, does not apply to him as a 
being distinct from itself, a master, a person in general, but 
it applies to him in so far as he is dependent on, and determined 
by his paternal feeling, his love for his child. f The entreaty is 

* Also, on subjective grounds, social prayer is more effectual than 
isolated prayer. Community enhances the force of emotion, heightens 
confidence. What we are unable to do alone, we are able to do with others. 
The sense of solitude is the sense of limitation : the sense of community is 
the sense of freedom. Hence it is that men, when threatened hy the de 
structive powers of nature, crowd together. " Multorum preces impossibile 

est,utnonimpetrent, inquit Ambrosius Sanctse orationis fervor quanto 

inter plures collectior tanto ardet diutius ac intensius cor divinum penetrat 

Negatur singularitati, quod conceditur charitati." Sacra Hist, 

de Gentis Hebr. ortu. P. Paul. Mezger. Aug. Vind. 1700, pp. 668, 669. 

f In the excellent work, Theanthropos, eine Reihe von Aphorismen 
(Zurich, 1838), the idea of the sense of dependence, of omnipotence, of 
prayer, and of love, is admirably developed. 

G 2 


only an expression of the force which the child exercises over 
the father ; if, indeed, the word force is appropriate here, since 
the force of the child is nothing more than the force of the 
father's own heart. Speech has the same form hoth for entreaty 
and command, namely, the imperative. And the imperative 
of love has infinitely more power than that of despotism. 
Love does not command ; love needs hut gently to intimate 
its wishes, to be certain of their fulfilment ; the despot must 
throw compulsion even into the tones of his voice in order to 
make other beings, in themselves uncaring for him, the execu 
tors of his wishes. The imperative of love works with electro 
magnetic power; that of despotism with the mechanical power of 
a wooden telegraph. The most intimate epithet of God in prayer 
is the word "Father," the most intimate, because in it man 
is in relation to the absolute nature as to his own ; the word 
Father is the expression of the closest, the most intense identity, 
the expression in which lies the pledge that my wishes will 
"be fulfilled, the guarantee of my salvation. The omnipotence 
to which man turns in prayer is nothing but the Omnipotence 
of Goodness, which, for the sake of the salvation of man, 
makes the impossible possible; is, in truth, nothing else than 
the omnipotence of the heart, of feeling, which breaks through 
all the limits of the understanding, which soars above all the 
boundaries of Nature, which wills that there be nothing else than 
feeling, nothing that contradicts the heart. Faith in omnipo 
tence is faith in the unreality of the external world, of objec 
tivity, faith in the absolute reality of man's emotional nature : 
the essence of omnipotence is simply the essence of feeling. 
Omnipotence is the power before which no law, no external 
condition, avails or subsists ; but this power is the emo 
tional nature, which feels every determination, every law, to be 
a limit, a restraint, and for that reason dismisses it. Omni 
potence does nothing more than accomplish the will of the 
feelings. In prayer man turns to the Omnipotence of Good 
ness- which simply means, that in prayer man adores his 
own heart, regards his own feelings as absolute. 



FAITH in the power of prayer and only where a power, an 
objective power, is ascribed to it, is prayer still a religious 
t ru th, is identical with faith in miraculous power; and 
faith in miracles is identical with the essence of faith in 
general. Faith alone prays ; the prayer of faith is alone 
effectual. But faith is nothing else than confidence in the 
reality of the subjective in opposition to the limitations or 
laws of nature and reason, that is, of natural reason. The 
specific object of faith therefore is miracle; faith is the belief 
in miracle ; faith and miracle are absolutely inseparable. That 
which is objectively miracle, or miraculous power, is subjec 
tively faith ; miracle is the outward aspect of faith, faith the 
inward soul of miracle ; faith is the miracle of mind, the miracle 
of feeling, which merely becomes objective in external miracles. 
To faith nothing is impossible, and miracle only gives actuality 
to this omnipotence of faith : miracles are but a visible ex 
ample of what faith can effect. Unlimitedness, supernaturalness, 
exaltation of feeling, transcendence is therefore the essence 
of faith. Faith has reference only to things which, in con 
tradiction with the limits or laws of Nature and reason, 
give objective reality to human feelings and human desires. 
Faith unfetters the wishes of subjectivity from the bonds of 
natural reason ; it confers what nature and reason deny ; hence 
it makes man happy, for it satisfies his most personal wishes. 
And true faith is discomposed by no doubt. Doubt arises only 
where I go out of myself, overstep the bounds of my personality, 
concede reality and a right of suffrage to that which is distinct 
from myself; where I know myself to be a subjective, i.e., a 
limited being, and seek to widen my limits by admitting things 
external to myself. But in faith the very principle of doubt is 
annulled; for to faith the subjective is in and by itself the 
objective nay, the absolute. Faith is nothing else than belief 
in the absolute reality of subjectivity. 


"Faith is that courage in the heart which trusts for all good 
to God. Such a faith, in which the heart places its reliance 
on God alone, is enjoined by God in the first commandment, 

where he says, I am the Lord thy God That is, I alone 

will he thy God, thou shalt seek no other God ; I will help 
thee out of all trouble. Thou shalt not think that I am an 
enemy to thee, and will not help thee. When thou thinkest 
so, thou makest me in thine heart into another God than I 
am. Wherefore hold it for certain that I am willing to be 
merciful to thee." " As thou behavest thyself, so does God 
behave. If thou thinkest that he is angry with thee, He is 
angry; if thou thinkest that He is unmerciful, and will cast 
thee into hell, He is so. As thou believest of God, so is 
He to thee." " If thou believest it, thou hast it ; but if thou 
believest not, thou hast none of it." " Therefore, as we be 
lieve, so does it happen to us. If we regard him as our God, 
He will not be our devil. But if we regard him not as our 
God, then truly he is not our God, but must be a consuming 
fire." "By unbelief we make God a devil."* Thus, if I believe in 
a God, I have a God, i.e., faith in God is the God of man. If 
God is such, whatever it may be, as I believe Him, what else is 
the nature of God than the nature of faith ? Is it possible for 
thee to believe in a God who regards thee favourably, if thou 
dost not regard thyself favourably, if thou despairest of man, 
if he is nothing to thee ? What else then is the being of God 
but the being of man, the absolute self-love of man ? If thou 
believest that God is for thee, thou believest that nothing is or 
can be against thee, that nothing contradicts thee. But if 
thou believest that nothing is or can be against thee, thou be 
lievest what ? nothing less than that thou art God.f That 
God is another being is only illusion, only imagination. In 
declaring that God is for thee, thou declares! that he is thy 
own being. What then is faith but the infinite self- certainty 
of man, the undoubting certainty that his own subjective being 
is the objective, absolute being, the being of beings? 

* Luther (T. xv. p. 282. T. xvi. pp. 491493). 
f " God is Almig" 

jhty; but he who believes, is a God." Luther 
(in Chr. Kapps Christus u. die Weltgesckichte, s. 11). In another place 
Luther calls faith the "Creator of the Godhead;" it is true that he 
immediately adds, as he must necessarily do on his stand-point, the 
following limitation : " Not that it creates anything in the divine, eternal 
Being, but that it creates that Being in us." (T. xi. p. 161.) 


Faith does not limit itself by the idea of a world, a universe, 
a necessity. For faith there is nothing but God, i.e., limitless 
subjectivity. Where faith rises the world sinks, nay, has 
already sunk into nothing. Faith in the real annihilation of 
the world in an immediately approaching, a mentally present 
annihilation of this world, a world antagonistic to the wishes 
of the Christian, is therefore a phenomenon belonging to the 
inmost essence of Christianity ; a faith which is not properly 
separable from the other elements of Christian belief, and with 
the renunciation of which, true, positive Christianity is 
renounced and denied.* The essence of faith, as may be 
confirmed by an examination of its objects down to the 
minutest speciality, is the idea that that which man wishes 
actually is : he wishes to be immortal, therefore he is 
immortal ; he wishes for the existence of a being who can 
do everything which is impossible to Nature and reason, 
therefore such a being exists ; he wishes for a world which 
corresponds to the desires of the heart, a world of unlimited 
subjectivity, i.e., of unperturbed feeling, of uninterrupted bliss, 
while nevertheless there exists a world the opposite of that 
subjective one, and hence this world must pass away, 
as necessarily pass away as God, or absolute subjectivity, 
must remain. Faith, love, hope, are the Christian Trinity. 
Hope has relation to the fulfilment of the promises, the wishes 
which are not yet fulfilled, but which are to be fulfilled ; love 
has relation to the Being who gives and fulfils these promises ; 
faith to the promises, the wishes, which are already fulfilled, 
which are historical facts. 

Miracle is an essential object of Christianity, an essential 

* This belief is so essential to the Bible, that without it the biblical 
writers can scarcely be understood. The passage, 2 Pet. iii. 8, as is 
evident from the tenor of the whole chapter, says nothing in opposition to 
an immediate destruction of the world ; for though with the Lord a thou 
sand years are as one day, yet at the same time one day is as a thousand 
years, and therefore the world may, even by to-morrow, no longer exist. 
That in the Bible a very near end of the world is expected and prophesied, 
although the day and hour are not determined, only falsehood or blindness 
can deny. See on this subject Lutzelberger. Hence religious Christians, 
in almost all times, have believed that the destruction of the world is near 
at hand Luther, for example, often says that " the last day is not far off," 
(e. g. T. xvi. p. 26) ; or at least their souls have longed for the end of 
the world, though they have prudently left it undecided whether it be near 
or distant. See Augustin (de Fine Sseculi ad Hesychium, c. 13). 


article of faith. But what is miracle ? A supranaturalistic 
wish realized nothing more. The apostle Paul illustrates the 
nature of Christian faith by the example of Abraham. Abraham 
could not, in a natural way, ever hope for posterity ; Jehovah 
nevertheless promised it to him out of special favour ; and 
Abraham believed in spite of Nature. Hence this faith was 
reckoned to him as righteousness, as merit ; for it implies 
great force of subjectivity to accept as certain something in 
contradiction with experience, at least with rational, normal 
experience. But what was the object of this divine promise ? 
Posterity : the object of a human wish. And in what did 
Abraham believe when he believed in Jehovah ? In a Being 
who can do everything, and can fulfil all wishes. " Is any 
thing too hard for the Lord ?"* 

But why do we go so far back as to Abraham ? We have 
the most striking examples much nearer to us. Miracle feeds the 
hungry, cures men born blind, deaf, and lame, rescues from 
fatal diseases, and even raises the dead at the prayer of rela 
tives. Thus it satisfies human wishes, and wishes which, 
though not always intrinsically like the wish for the restoration 
of the dead, yet in so far as they appeal to miraculous power, 
to miraculous aid, are transcendental, supranaturalistic. But 
miracle is distinguished from that mode of satisfying human 
wishes and needs which is in accordance with Nature and 
reason, in this respect, that it satisfies the wishes of men in a 
way corresponding to the nature of wishes in the most desir 
able way. Wishes own no restraint, no law, no time ; they 
would be fulfilled without delay on the instant. And behold ! 
miracle is as rapid as a wish is impatient. Miraculous power 
realizes human wishes in a moment, at one stroke, without any 
hindrance. That the sick should become well is no miracle ; 
but that they should become so immediately, at a mere word of 
command, that is the mystery of miracle. Thus it is not in 
its product or object that miraculous agency is distinguished 
from the agency of nature and reason, but only in its mode 
and process ; for if miraculous power were to effect something 
absolutely new, never before beheld, never conceived, or not 
even conceivable, it would be practically proved to be an essen 
tially different, and at the same time objective agency. But the 

* Gen. xviii. 14. 


agency which in essence, in substance, is natural and accord 
ant with the forms of the senses, and which is supernatural, 
supersensual, only in the mode or process, is the agency of 
the imagination. The power of miracle is therefore nothing 
else than the power of the imagination. 

Miraculous agency, is agency directed to an end. The 
yearning after the departed Lazarus, the desire of his relatives 
to possess him again, was the motive of the miraculous resus 
citation; the satisfaction of this wish, the end. It is true that 
the miracle happened " for the glory of God, that the Son of 
God might he glorified thereby ; " but the message sent to the 
Master by the sisters of Lazarus, "Behold, he whom thou 
lovest, is sick," and the tears which Jesus shed, vindicate for 
the miracle a human origin and end. The meaning is : to that 
power which can awaken the dead, no human wish is impossible 
to accomplish.* And the glory of the Son consists in this : that 
he is acknowledged and reverenced as the being who is able to 
do what man is unable, but wishes to do. Activity towards an 
end, is well known to describe a circle : in the end it returns 
upon its beginning. But miraculous agency is distinguished 
from the ordinary realization of an object, in that it realizes the 
end without means, that it effects an immediate identity of the 
wish and its fulfilment ; that consequently it describes a circle, 
not in a curved, but in a straight line, that is, the shortest line. 
A circle in a straight line is the mathematical symbol of miracle. 
The attempt to construct a circle with a straight line, would 
not be more ridiculous than the attempt to deduce miracle 
philosophically. To reason, miracle is absurd, inconceivable ; 
as inconceivable as wooden iron, or a circle without a periphery. 
Before it is discussed whether a miracle can happen, let it be 
shown that miracle, i.e., the inconceivable, is conceivable. 

* " To the whole world it is impossible to raise the dead, but to the Lord 

Christ, not only is it not impossible, but it is no trouble or labour to him. 

.... This Christ did as a witness and a sign, that he can and will raise 

from death. He does it not at all times and to every one It is 

enough that he has done it a few times ; the rest he leaves to the last day." 
Luther (T. xvi. p. 518). The positive, essential significance of miracle 
is therefore that the divine nature is the human nature. Miracles con 
firm, authenticate doctrine. What doctrine ? Simply this, that God is a 
Saviour of men, their Redeemer out of all trouble, i. e., a being corre 
sponding to the wants and wishes of man, and therefore a human being. 
What the God-man declares in words, miracle demonstrates ad oculos by 



What suggests to man the notion that miracle is conceivable 
is, that miracle is represented as an event perceptible by the 
senses, and hence man cheats his reason by material images 
which screen the contradiction. The miracle of the turning of 
water into wine, for example, implies in fact nothing else than 
that water is wine, nothing else than that two absolutely con 
tradictory predicates or subjects are identical ; for in the hand 
of the miracle-worker there is no distinction between the two 
substances ; the transformation is only the visible appearance 
of this identity of two contradictories. But the transformation 
conceals the contradiction, because the natural conception of 
change is interposed. Here, however, is no gradual, no natural, 
or, so to speak, organic change ; but an absolute, immaterial 
one; a pure creatio ex nihilo. In the mysterious and mo 
mentous act of miraculous power, in the act which constitutes 
the miracle, water is suddenly and imperceptibly wine : which 
is equivalent to saying that iron is wood, or wooden iron. 

The miraculous act and miracle is only a transient act is 
therefore not an object of thought, for it nullifies the very 
principle of thought; but it is just as little an object of sense, 
an object of real or even possible experience. Water is indeed 
an object of sense, and wine also; I first see water, and then 
wine; but the miracle itself, that which makes this water 
suddenly wine, this, not being a natural process, but a pure 
perfect without any antecedent imperfect, without any modus, 
without way or means, is no object of real, or even of possible 
experience. Miracle is a thing of the imagination ; and on that 
very account is it so agreeable : for the imagination is the 
faculty which alone corresponds to personal feeling, because it 
sets aside all limits, all laws which are painful to the feelings, 
and thus makes objective to man the immediate, absolutely 
unlimited satisfaction of his subjective wishes.* Accordance 
with subjective inclination, is the essential characteristic of 
miracle. It is true that miracle produces also an awful, 
agitating impression, so far as it expresses a power which 
nothing can resist, the power of the imagination. But this 
impression lies only in the transient miraculous act; the abiding, 

* This satisfaction is certainly so far limited, that it is united to religion, 
to faith in God : a remark which however is so obvious as to be super 
fluous. But this limitation is in fact no limitation, for God himself is 
unlimited, absolutely satisfied, self-contented human feeling. 


essential impression is the agreeable one. At the moment in 
which the beloved Lazarus is raised up, the surrounding rela 
tives and friends are awe-struck at the extraordinary, almighty 
power which transforms the dead into the living ; but soon the 
relatives fall into the arms of the risen one, and lead him with 
tears of joy to his home, there to celebrate a festival of rejoicing. 
Miracle springs out of feeling, and has its end in feeling. 
Even in the traditional representation it does not deny its origin ; 
the representation which gratifies the feelings is alone the ade 
quate one. Who can fail to recognise in the narrative of the 
resurrection of Lazarus, the tender, pleasing, legendary tone?* 
Miracle is agreeable, because, as has been said, it satisfies the 
wishes of man without labour, without effort. Labour is unim- 
passioned, unbelieving, rationalistic ; for man here makes his 
existence dependent on activity directed to an end, which acti 
vity again is itself determined solely by the idea of the objective 
world. But feeling does not at all trouble itself about the 
objective world; it does not go out of or beyond itself; it is 
happy in itself. The element of culture, the northern principle 
of self-renunciation, is wanting to the emotional nature. The 
Apostles and Evangelists were no scientifically cultivated men. 
Culture, in general, is nothing else than the exaltation of the 
individual above his subjectivity to objective universal ideas, to 
the contemplation of the world. The Apostles were men of the 
people ; the people live only in themselves, in their feelings : 
therefore Christianity took possession of the people. Vox 
populi vox Dei. Did Christianity conquer a single philosopher, 
historian, or poet, of the classical period ? The philosophers 
who went over to Christianity were feeble, contemptible philo 
sophers. All who had yet the classic spirit in them were 
hostile, or at least indifferent to Christianity. The decline of 
culture was identical with the victory of Christianity. The 
classic spirit, the spirit of culture, limits itself by laws, not 
indeed by arbitrary, finite laws, but by inherently true and valid 
ones ; it is determined by the necessity, the truth of the nature 
of things ; in a word, it is the objective spirit. In place of this, 

* The legends of Catholicism of course only the best, the really 
pleasing ones are, as it were, only the echo of the key-note which 
predominates in this New Testament narrative. Miracle might be fitly 
defined as religious humour. Catholicism especially has developed miracle 
on this its humorous side. 


there entered with Christianity the principle of unlimited, 
extravagant, fanatical, supranaturalistic subjectivity ; a prin 
ciple intrinsically opposed to that of science, of culture.* With 
Christianity man lost the capability of conceiving himself as a 
part of Nature, of the universe. As long as true, unfeigned, un- 
falsified, uncompromising Christianity existed, as long as Chris 
tianity was a living, practical truth, so long did real miracles 
happen ; and they necessarily happened, for faith in dead, 
historical, past miracles is itself a dead faith, the first step 
towards unbelief, or rather the first and therefore the timid, 
uncandid, servile mode in which unbelief in miracle finds vent. 
But where miracles happen, all definite forms melt in the golden 
haze of imagination and feeling ; there the world, reality, is no 
truth; there the miracle-working, emotional, i.e., subjective 
being, is held to be alone the objective, real being. 

To the merely emotional man the imagination is immediately, 
without his willing or knowing it, the highest, the dominant 
activity ; and being the highest, it is the activity of God, the 
creative activity. To him feeling is an immediate truth and 
reality ; he cannot abstract himself from his feelings, he cannot 
get beyond them : and equally real is his imagination. The 
imagination is not to him what it is to us men of active under 
standing, who distinguish it as subjective from objective cog 
nition; it is immediately identical with himself, with his 
feelings, and since it is identical with his being, it is his 
essential, objective, necessary view of things. For us, indeed, 
imagination is an arbitrary activity ; but where man has not 
imbibed the principle of culture, of theory, where he lives and 
moves only in his feelings, the imagination is an immediate, 
involuntary activity. 

The explanation of miracles by feeling and imagination is 
regarded by many in the present day as superficial. But let 
any one transport himself to the time when living, present 
miracles were believed in ; when the reality of things without 
us was as yet no sacred article of faith ; when men were so 
void of any theoretic interest in the world, that they from day 

* Culture in the sense in which it is here taken. It is highly charac 
teristic of Christianity, and a popular proof of our positions, that the only 
language in which the Divine Spirit was and is held to reveal himself in 
Christianity, is not the language of a Sophocles or a Plato, of art and 
philosophy, but the vague, unformed, crudely emotional language of the 


to day looked forward to its destruction ; when they lived only 
in the rapturous prospect and hope of heaven, that is, in the 
imagination of it (for whatever heaven may he, for them, so 
long as they were on earth, it existed only in the imagination) ; 
when this imagination was not a fiction hut a truth, nay, the 
eternal, alone abiding truth, not an inert, idle source of conso 
lation, but a practical moral principle determining actions, a 
principle to which men joyfully sacrificed real life, the real 
world with all its glories; let him transport himself to 
those times and he must himself be very superficial to pro 
nounce the psychological genesis of miracles superficial. 
It is no valid objection that miracles have happened, or are 
supposed to have happened, in the presence of whole as 
semblies : no man was independent, all were filled with exalted 
supranaturalistic ideas and feelings ; all were animated by the 
same faith, the same hope, the same hallucinations. And who 
does not know that there are common or similar dreams, common 
or similar visions, especially among impassioned individuals 
who are closely united and restricted to their own circle ? But 
be that as it may. If the explanation of miracles by feeling 
and imagination is superficial, the charge of superficiality falls 
not on the explainer but on that which he explains, namely, 
on miracle ; for, seen in clear daylight, miracle presents abso 
lutely nothing else than the sorcery of the imagination, which 
satisfies without contradiction all the wishes of the heart.* 

* Many miracles may really have had originally a physical or physiolo 
gical phenomenon as their foundation. But we are here considering only 
the religious significance and genesis of miracle. 




THE quality of being agreeable to subjective inclination belongs 
not only to practical miracles, in which it is conspicuous, as 
they have immediate reference to the interest or wish of the 
human individual ; it belongs also to theoretical, or more pro 
perly dogmatic miracles, and hence to the Kesurrection and 
the Miraculous Conception. 

Man, at least in a state of ordinary well-being, has the wish 
not to die. This wish is originally identical with the instinct 
of self-preservation. Whatever lives seeks to maintain itself, 
to continue alive, and consequently not to die. Subsequently, 
when reflection and feeling are developed under the urgency of 
life, especially of social and political life, this primary negative 
wish becomes the positive wish for a life, and that a better life, 
after death. But this wish involves the further wish for the 
certainty of its fulfilment. Reason can afford no such certainty. 
It has therefore been said that all proofs of immortality are 
insufficient, and even that unassisted reason is not capable of 
apprehending it, still less of proving it. And with justice ; for 
reason furnishes only general proofs ; it cannot give the cer 
tainty of any personal immortality, and it is precisely this 
certainty which is desired. Such a certainty requires an im 
mediate personal assurance, a practical demonstration. This 
can only be given to me by the fact of a dead person, whose 
death has been previously certified, rising again from the grave ; 
and he must be no indifferent person, but on the contrary the 
type and representative of all others, so that his resurrection 
also may be the type, the guarantee of theirs. The resurrec 
tion of Christ is therefore the satisfied desire of man for an 
immediate certainty of his personal existence after death, 
personal immortality as a sensible, indubitable fact. 

Immortality was with the heathen philosophers a question in 


which the personal interest was only a collateral point. They 
concerned themselves chiefly with the nature of the soul, of 
mind, of the vital principle. The immortality of the vital prin 
ciple by no means involves the idea, not to mention the 
certainty, of personal immortality. Hence the vagueness, 
discrepancy, and dubiousness with which the ancients express 
themselves on this subject. The Christians, on the contrary, 
in the undoubting certainty that their personal, self-flattering 
wishes will be fulfilled, i.e., in the certainty of the divine nature 
of their emotions, the truth and unassailableness of their sub 
jective feelings, converted that which to the ancients was a 
theoretic problem, into an immediate fact, converted a theo 
retic, and in itself open question, into a matter of conscience, 
the denial of which was equivalent to the high treason of 
atheism. He who denies the resurrection denies the resurrec 
tion of Christ, but he who denies the resurrection of Christ 
denies Christ himself, and he who denies Christ denies God. 
Thus did " spiritual" Christianity unspiritualize what was 
spiritual ! To the Christians the immortality of the reason, of 
the soul, was far too abstract and negative ; they had at heart 
only a personal immortality, such as would gratify their feel 
ings ; and the guarantee of this lies in a bodily resurrection 
alone. The resurrection of the body is the highest triumph of 
Christianity over the sublime, but certainly abstract spirituality 
and objectivity of the ancients. For this reason the idea of the 
resurrection could never be assimilated by the pagan mind. 

As the Resurrection, which terminates the sacred history, 
(to the Christian not a mere history, but the truth itself,) 
is a realized wish, so also is that which commences it, namely, 
the Miraculous Conception, though this has relation not so 
much to an immediately personal interest as to a particular 
subjective feeling. 

The more man alienates himself from Nature, the more sub 
jective, i.e., supranatural, or antinatural, is his view of things, 
the greater the horror he has of Nature, or at least of those na 
tural objects and processes which displease his imagination, 
which affect him disagreeably.* The free, objective man 

* " If Adam had not fallen into sin, nothing would have been known of 
the cruelty of wolves, lions, bears, &c., and there would not have been in 
all creation anything vexatious and dangerous to man . . . . ; no thorns, or 
thistles, or diseases .... j his brow would not have been wrinkled ; no foot, or 


doubtless finds things repugnant and distasteful in Nature, but 
he regards them as natural, inevitable results, and under this 
conviction he subdues his feeling as a merely subjective and 
untrue one. On the contrary, the subjective man, who lives 
only in the feelings and imagination, regards these things 
with a quite peculiar aversion. He has the eye of that unhappy 
foundling, who even in looking at the loveliest flower could pay 
attention only to the little " black beetle," which crawled over 
it, and who by this perversity of perception had his enjoyment 
in the sight of flowers always embittered. Moreover, the subjec 
tive man makes his feelings the measure, the standard of what 
ought to be. That which does not please him, which offends 
his transcendental, supranatural, or antinatural feelings, ought 
not to be. Even if that which pleases him cannot exist with 
out being associated with that which displeases him, the sub 
jective man is not guided by the wearisome laws of logic and 
physics but by the self-will of the imagination ; hence he drops 
what is disagreeable in a fact, and holds fast alone what is 
agreeable. Thus the idea of the pure, holy Virgin pleases him; 
still he is also pleased with the idea of the Mother, but only 
of the Mother who already carries the infant on her arms. 

Virginity in itself is to him the highest moral idea, the 
cornu copies of his supranaturalistic feelings and ideas, his 
personified sense of honour and of shame before common 
nature.* Nevertheless, there stirs in his bosom a natural 
feeling also, the compassionate feeling which makes the Mother 

hand, or other member of the body would have been feeble or infirm." " But 
now, since the Fall, we all know and feel what a fury lurks in our flesh, 
which not only burns and rages with lust and desire, but also loathes, when 
once "* obtained, the very thing it has desired. But this is the fault of 
original sin, which has polluted all creatures ; wherefore I believe that 
before the Fall the sun was much brighter, water much clearer, and the 
land much richer, and fuller of all sorts of plants." Luther (T. i. s. 322, 
323, 329, 337). 

* " Tantum denique abest incesti cupido, ut nonnullis rubori sit etiam 
pudica conjunctio." M. Felicis, Oct. c. 31. One Father was so extraordi 
narily chaste that he had never seen a woman's face, nay, he dreaded even 
touching himself, "se quoque ipsum attingere quodammodo horrebat." 
Another Father had so fine an olfactory sense in this matter, that on the 
approach of an unchaste person he perceived an insupportable odour. 
Bayle (Diet. Art. Mariana Rem. C.). But the supreme, the divine 

Srinciple of this hyperphysical delicacy, is the Virgin Mary; hence the 
atholics name her Virginum Gloria, Virginitatis corona, Virginitatis 
typus et forma puritatis, Virginum vexillifera, Virginitatis magistra, 
Virginum prima, Virginitatis primiceria. 


beloved. What then is to be done in this difficulty of the 
heart, in this conflict between a natural and a supranatural 
feeling ? The supranaturalist must unite the two, must com 
prise in one and the same subject two predicates which exclude 
each other.* what a plenitude of agreeable, sweet, super- 
sensual, sensual emotions lies in this combination ? 

Here we have the key to the contradiction in Catholicism, 
that at the same time marriage is holy, and celibacy is holy. 
This simply realizes, as a practical contradiction, the dogmatic 
contradiction of the Virgin Mother. But this wondrous union 
of virginity and maternity, contradicting nature and reason, 
but in the highest degree accordant with the feelings and 
imagination, is no product of Catholicism ; it lies already in 
the twofold part which marriage plays in the Bible, especially 
in the view of the Apostle Paul. The supernatural conception 
of Christ is a fundamental doctrine of Christianity, a doctrine 
which expresses its inmost dogmatic essence, and which rests 
on the same foundation as all other miracles and articles 
of faith. As death, which the philosopher, the man of 
science, the free objective thinker in general, accepts as a 
natural necessity, and as indeed all the limits of nature, 
which are impediments to feeling, but to reason are rational laws, 
were repugnant to the Christians, and were set aside by them 
through the supposed agency of miraculous power ; so, neces 
sarily, they had an equal repugnance to the natural process of 
generation, and superseded it by miracle. The Miraculous 
Conception is not less welcome than the Resurrection, to all 
believers ; for it was the first step towards the purification of 
mankind, polluted by sin and Nature. Only because the God- 
man was not infected with original sin, could he, the pure one, 
purify mankind in the eyes of God, to whom the natural 
process of generation was an object of aversion, because he 
himself is nothing else but supranatural feeling. 

Even the arid Protestant orthodoxy, so arbitrary in its 
criticism, regarded the conception of the God-producing 
Virgin, as a great, adorable, amazing, holy mystery of faith, 
transcending reason. f But with the Protestants, who confined 

* " Salve sancta parens, enixa puerpera Kegem, 
Gaudia matris habens cum virginitatis honore." 

Theol. Schol. Mezger. t. iv. p. 132. 

f See e. g. J. D. Winckler, Philolog. Lactant. s. Brunsvigae, 1754, pp. 


the speciality of the Christian to the domain of faith, and with 
whom, in life, it was allowable to he a man, even this mystery 
had only a dogmatic, and no longer a practical significance ; 
they did not allow it to interfere with their desire of marriage. 
With the Catholics, and with all the old, uncompromising, 
uncritical Christians, that which was a mystery of faith, was a 
mystery of life, of morality.* Catholic morality is Christian, 
mystical ; Protestant morality was, in its very beginning, ra 
tionalistic. Protestant morality is, and was, a carnal mingling 
of the Christian with the man, the natural, political, civil, 
social man, or whatever else he may be called in distinction 
from the Christian ; Catholic morality cherished in its heart 
the mystery of the unspotted virginity. Catholic morality was 
the Mater dolorosa ; Protestant morality a comely, fruitful 
matron. Protestantism is from beginning to end the con 
tradiction between faith and love ; for which very reason it has 
been the source, or at least the condition, of freedom. Just 
because the mystery of the Virgo Deipara had with the Pro 
testants a place only in theory, or rather in dogma, and no 
longer in practice, they declared that it was impossible to 
express oneself with sufficient care and reserve concerning it, 
and that it ought not to be made an object of speculation. 
That which is denied in practice has no true basis and dura 
bility in man, is a mere spectre of the mind ; and hence it is 
withdrawn from the investigation of the understanding. Ghosts 
no not brook daylight. 

Even the later doctrine, (which, however, had been already 
enunciated in a letter to St. Bernard, who rejects it,) that 
Mary herself was conceived without taint of original sin, is by 
no means a " strange school-bred doctrine," as it is called by 
a modern historian. That which gives birth to a miracle, 
which brings forth God, must itself be of miraculous, divine 
origin, or nature. How could Mary have had the honour of 
being overshadowed by the Holy Ghost, if she had not been 
from the first pure ? Could the Holy Ghost take up his 
abode in a body polluted by original sin ? If the principle of 
Christianity, the miraculous birth of the Saviour, does not 
appear strange to you, why think strange the naive, well- 
meaning inferences of Catholicism ? 

* See on this subject Pkilos. und Christenthum, by L. Feuerbach. 




THE fundamental dogmas of Christianity are realized wishes 
of the heart ; the essence of Christianity is the essence of hu 
man feeling. It is pleasanter to be passive than to act, to be 
redeemed and made free by another than to free oneself; plea 
santer to make one's salvation dependent on a person than on 
the force of one's own spontaneity ; pleasanter to set before 
oneself an object of love than an object of effort; pleasanter to 
know oneself beloved by God than merely to have that simple, 
natural self-love which is innate in all beings ; pleasanter to 
see oneself imaged in the love-beaming eyes of another personal 
being, than to look into the concave mirror of self, or into the 
cold depths of the ocean of Nature ; pleasanter, in short, to 
allow oneself to be acted on by one's own feeling as by another, 
but yet fundamentally identical being, than to regulate oneself 
by reason. Feeling is the oblique case of the ego, the ego in 
the accusative. The ego of Fichte is destitute of feeling, 
because the accusative is the same as the nominative, because 
it is indeclinable. But feeling or sentiment is the ego acted 
on by itself, and by itself as another being, the passive ego. 
Feeling changes the active in man into the passive, and the 
passive into the active. To feeling, that which thinks is the 
thing thought, and the thing thought is that which thinks. 
Feeling is the dream of Nature ; and there is nothing more 
blissful, nothing more profound than dreaming. But what is 
dreaming ? The reversing of the waking consciousness. In 
dreaming, the active is the passive, the passive the active ; in 
dreaming, I take the spontaneous action of my own mind for 
an action upon me from without, my emotions for events, my 
conceptions and sensations for true existences apart from 
myself. I suffer what I also perform. Dreaming is a double 
refraction of the rays of light; hence its indescribable charm. 
It is the same ego, the same being in dreaming as in waking ; 


the only distinction is, that in waking, the ego acts on itself; 
whereas in dreaming, it is acted on by itself as by another being. 
I think myself is a passionless, rationalistic position ; I am 
thought by God, and think myself only as thought by God 
is a position pregnant with feeling, religious. Feeling is a 
dream with the eyes open ; religion the dream of waking con 
sciousness : dreaming is the key to the mysteries of religion. 

The highest law of feeling is the immediate unity of will and 
deed, of wishing and reality. This law is fulfilled by the 
Redeemer. As external miracles, in opposition to natural ac 
tivity, realize immediately the physical wants and wishes of 
man ; so the Redeemer, the Mediator, the God-man, in opposi 
tion to the moral spontaneity of the natural or rationalistic 
man, satisfies immediately the inward moral wants and wishes, 
since he dispenses man on his own side from any intermediate 
activity. What thou wishest is already effected. Thou desirest 
to win, to deserve happiness. Morality is the condition, the 
means of happiness. But thou canst not fulfil this condition ; 
that is, in truth, thou needest not. That which thou seekest to 
do has already been done. Thou hast only to be passive, thou 
needest only believe, only enjoy. Thou desirest to make God 
favourable to thee, to appease his anger, to be at peace with thy 
conscience. But this peace exists already ; this peace is the 
Mediator, the God-man. He is thy appeased conscience ; he 
is the fulfilment of the law, and therewith the fulfilment of thy 
own wish and effort. 

Therefore it is no longer the law, but the fulfiller of the law, 
who is the model, the guiding thread, the rule of thy life. He 
who fulfils the law, annuls the law. The law has authority, has 
validity, only in relation to him who violates it. But he who 
perfectly fulfils the law, says to it : What thou wiliest I spon 
taneously will, and what thou commandest I enforce by deeds ; 
my life is the true, the living law. The fulfiller of the law, 
therefore, necessarily steps into the place of the law ; moreover 
he becomes a new law, one whose yoke is light and easy. For 
in place of the merely imperative law, he presents himself as an 
example, as an object of love, of admiration and emulation, and 
thus becomes the Saviour from sin. The law does not give 
me the power to fulfil the law; no ! it is hard and merciless; 
it only commands, without troubling itself whether I can fulfil 
it, or how I am to fulfil it ; it leaves me to myself, without 
counsel or aid. But he who presents himself to me as an ex- 


ample, lights up my path, takes me by the hand, and imparts 
to me his own strength. The law lends no power of resisting 
sin, hut example works miracles. The law is dead ; but ex 
ample animates, inspires, carries men involuntarily along with 
it. The law speaks only to the understanding, and sets itself 
directly in opposition to the instincts ; example, on the con 
trary, appeals to a powerful instinct immediately connected 
with the activity of the senses, that of involuntary imitation. 
Example operates on the feelings and imagination. In short, 
example has magical, i. e., sense-affecting powers ; for the ma 
gical or involuntary force of attraction, is an essential property 
as of matter in general, so in particular of that which affects 
the senses. 

The ancients said, that if virtue could become visible, its 
beauty would win and inspire all hearts. The Christians were 
so happy as to see even this wish fulfilled The heathens had 
an unwritten, the Jews a written law; the Christians had a 
model a visible, personal, living law, a law made flesh. Hence 
the joyfulness especially of the primitive Christians, hence the 
glory of Christianity that it alone contains and bestows the 
power to resist sin. And this glory is not to be denied it. 
Only it is to be observed that the power of the exemplar of 
virtue is not so much the power of virtue as the power of ex 
ample in general, just as the power of religious music is not 
the power of religion, but the power of music;* and that 
therefore, though the image of virtue has virtuous actions as 
its consequences, these actions are destitute of the dispositions 
and motives of virtue. But this simple and true sense of the 
redeeming and reconciling power of example in distinction 
from the power of law, to which we have reduced the antithesis 
of the law and Christ, by no means expresses the full religious 
significance of the Christian redemption and reconciliation. 
In this, everything reduces itself to the personal power of that 
miraculous intermediate being who is neither God alone nor 
man alone, but a man who is also God, and a God who is also 

* In relation to this, the confession of Augustine is interesting. " Ita 
fluctuo inter periculum voluptatis et experimentum salubritatis : magisque 
adducor . . . cantandi consuetudinem approbare in ecclesia, ut per oblecta- 
menta aurium innrmior animus in affectum pietatis assurgat, Tamen cum 
mihi accidit, ut nos amplius cantus, quam res quae canitur moveat, 
prenaliter me peccare confiteor." Confess. 1. x. c. 33. 


man, and who can therefore only be comprehended in connec 
tion with the significance of miracle. In this, the miraculous 
Kedeemer is nothing else than the realized wish of feeling to 
he free from the laws of morality, i.e., from the conditions to 
which virtue is united in the natural course of things ; the 
realized wish to he freed from moral evils instantaneously, 
immediately, by a stroke of magic, that is, in an absolutely 
subjective, agreeable way. " The word of God," says Luther, 
for example, " accomplishes all things swiftly, brings forgive 
ness of sins, and gives tliee eternal life, and costs nothing 
more than that thou shouldst hear the word, and when thou 
hast heard it shouldst believe. If thou believest, thou hast 
it without pains, cost, delay, or difficulty."* But that hearing 
of the word of God, which is followed by faith, is itself a " gift 
of God." Thus faith is nothing else than a psychological 
miracle, a supernatural operation of God in man, as Luther 
likewise says. But man becomes free from sin and from the 
consciousness of guilt only through faith, morality is depen 
dent on faith, the virtues of the heathens are only splendid 
sins; thus he becomes morally free and good only through 

That the idea of miraculous power is one with the idea of the 
intermediate being, at once divine and human, has historical 
proof in the fact that the miracles of the Old Testament, the 
delivery of the law, Providence all the elements which 
constitute the essence of religion, were in the later Judaism 
attributed to the Logos. In Philo, however, this Logos still 
hovers in the air between heaven and earth, now as abstract, 
now as concrete ; that is, Philo vacillates between himself as a 
philosopher and himself as a religious Israelite, between the 
positive element of religion and the metaphysical idea of deity ; 
but in such a way that even the abstract element is with him 
more or less invested with imaginative forms. In Christianity 
this Logos first attained perfect consistence, i.e., religion now 
concentrated itself exclusively on that element, that object, 
which is the basis of its essential difference. The Logos is the 
personified essence of religion. Hence the definition of God 
as the essence of feeling, has its complete truth only in the 

Th. xvi. p. 490. 


God as God is feeling as yet shut up, hidden; only Christ 
is the unclosed, open feeling or heart. In Christ feeling is 
first perfectly certain of itself, and assured heyond doubt of the 
truth and divinity of its own nature; for Christ denies nothing 
to feeling ; he fulfils all its prayers. In God the soul is still 
silent as to what affects it most closely, it only sighs ; hut in 
Christ it speaks out fully ; here it has no longer any reserves. 
To him who only sighs, wishes are still attended with disqui 
etude ; he rather complains that what he wishes is not, than 
openly, positively declares what he wishes ; he is still in doubt 
whether his wishes have the force of law. But in Christ, all 
anxiety of the soul vanishes; he is the sighing soul passed 
into a song of triumph over its complete satisfaction ; he is the 
joyful certainty of feeling that its wishes hidden in God have 
truth and reality, the actual victory over death, over all the 
powers of the world and Nature, the resurrection no longer 
merely hoped for, but already accomplished ; he is the heart 
released from all oppressive limits, from all sufferings, the soul 
in perfect blessedness, the Godhead made visible.* 

To see God is the highest wish, the highest triumph of the 
heart. Christ is this wish, this triumph, fulfilled. God, as an 
object of thought only, i.e., God as God, is always a remote 
being ; the relation to him is an abstract one, like that relation 
of friendship in which we stand to a man who is distant from 
us, and personally unknown to us. However his works, the 
proofs of love which he gives us, may make his nature present 
to us, there always remains an unfilled void, the heart is un 
satisfied, we long to see him. So long as we have not met a 
being face to face, we are always in doubt whether he be 
really such as we imagine him ; actual presence alone gives. 

* " Because God has given us his Son, he has with him given us every 
thing, whether it be called devil, sin, hell, heaven, righteousness, life ; all, 
all must be ours, because the Son is ours as a gift, in whom all else is 
included." Luther (T. xv. p. 311). " The best part of the resurrection 
has already happened ; Christ, the head of all Christendom, has passed 
through death, and risen from the dead. Moreover, the most excellent 
part of me, my soul, has likewise passed through death, and is with Christ 
in the heavenly being. What harm, then, can death and the grave do 
me?" Luther (T. xvi. p. 235). "A Christian man has equal power 
with Christ, has fellowship with him and a common tenure. (T. xiii. 
p. 648.) " Whoever cleaves to Christ, has as much as he." (T. xvi. 
p. 574) 


final confidence, perfect repose. Christ is God known per 
sonally ; Christ, therefore, is the blessed certainty that God is 
what the soul desires and needs him to be. God, as the object 
of prayer, is indeed already a human being, since he sympa 
thizes with human misery, grants human wishes ; but still he 
is not yet an object to the religious consciousness as a real 
man. Hence, only in Christ is the last wish of religion 
realized, the mystery of religious feeling solved : solved how 
ever in the language of imagery proper to religion, for what 
God is in essence, that Christ is in actual appearance. So far 
the Christian religion may justly be called the absolute religion. 
That God, who in himself is nothing else than the nature of 
man, should also have a real existence as such, should be as 
man an object to the consciousness this is the goal of reli 
gion. And this the Christian religion has attained in the in 
carnation of God, which is by no means a transitory act, for 
Christ remains man even after his ascension, man in heart 
and man in form, only that his body is no longer an earthly 
one, liable to suffering. 

The incarnations of the Deity with the orientals the Hin 
doos for example, have no such intense meaning as the Chris 
tian incarnation ; just because they happen often they become 
indifferent, they lose their value. The manhood of God is his 
personality ; the proposition, God is a personal being, means : 
God is a human being, God is a man. Personality is an ab 
straction, which has reality only in an actual man.* The idea 
which lies at the foundation of the incarnations of God is 
therefore infinitely better conveyed by one incarnation, one 
personality. Where God appears in several persons succes 
sively, these personalities are evanescent. What is required is a 
permanent, an exclusive personality. Where there are many 
incarnations, room is given for innumerable others ; the ima 
gination is not restrained ; and even those incarnations w T hich 
are already real pass into the category of the merely possible 
and conceivable, into the category of fancies, or of mere ap 
pearances. But where one personality is exclusively believed 

* This exhibits clearly the untruthfulness and vanity of the modern 
speculations concerning the personality of God. If you are not ashamed 
of a personal God, do not be ashamed of a corporeal God. An abstract 
colourless personality, a personality without flesh and blood, is an empty 


in and contemplated, this at once impresses with the power of 
an historical personality ; imagination is done away with, the 
freedom to imagine others is renounced. This one personality 
presses on me the belief in its reality. The characteristic 
of real personality is precisely exclusiveness, the Leibnitzian 
principle of distinction, namely, that no one existence is ex 
actly like another. The tone, the emphasis, with which the 
one personality is expressed, produces such an effect on the 
feelings, that it presents itself immediately as a real one, and 
is converted from an object of the imagination into an object 
of historical knowledge. 

Longing is the necessity of feeling ; and feeling longs 
for a personal God. But this longing after the personality 
of God is true, earnest, and profound, only when it is the 
longing for one personality, when it is satisfied with one. 
With the plurality of persons, the truth of the want vanishes, 
and personality becomes a mere luxury of the imagination. 
But that w T hich operates with the force of necessity, operates 
with the force of reality on man. That which to the feelings 
is a necessary being, is to them immediately a real being. 
Longing says: There must be a personal God, i. e., it cannot 
be that there is not; satisfied feeling says: He is. The guaran 
tee of his existence lies for feeling in its sense of the necessity 
of his existence ; the necessity of the satisfaction in the force 
of the want. Necessity knows no law besides itself ; necessity 
breaks iron. Feeling knows no other necessity than its own, 
than the necessity of feeling, than longing ; it holds in extreme 
horror the necessity of Nature, the necessity of reason. Thus 
to feeling, a subjective, sympathetic, personal God is neces 
sary; but it demands one personality alone, and this an 
historical, real one. Only when it is satisfied in the unity 
of personality has feeling any concentration ; plurality dissi 
pates it. 

But as the truth of personality is unity, and as the truth 
of unity is reality, so the truth of real personality is blood. 
The last proof, announced with peculiar emphasis by the author 
of the fourth gospel, that the visible person of God was no 
phantasm, no illusion, but a real man, is, that blood flowed 
from his side on the cross. If the personal God has a true 
sympathy with distress, he must himself suffer distress. Only 
in his suffering lies the assurance of his reality ; only on this 



depends the impress! veness of the incarnation. To see God 
does not satisfy feeling ; the eyes give no sufficient guarantee. 
The truth of vision is confirmed only by touch. But as sub 
jectively touch, so objectively the capability of being touched, 
palpability, passibility, is the last criterion of reality ; hence 
the passion of Christ is the highest confidence, the highest 
self- enjoyment, the highest consolation of feeling; for only 
in the blood of Christ is the thirst for a personal, that is, a 
human, sympathizing, tender God, allayed. 

" Wherefore we hold it to be a pernicious error when such 
(namely, divine) majesty is taken away from Christ according 
to his manhood, thereby depriving Christians of their highest 
consolation, which they have in .... the promise of the 
presence of their Head, King and High Priest, who has pro 
mised them that not his mere Godhead, which to us poor 
sinners is as a consuming fire to dry stubble, but He, He, the 
Man who has spoken with us, who has proved all sorrows in 
the human form which he took upon him, who therefore can 
have fellow-feeling with us as his brethren, that He will 
be with us in all our need, according to the nature whereby he 
is our brother, and we are flesh of his flesh."* 

It is superficial to say that Christianity is not the religion of 
one personal God, but of three personalities. These three 
personalities have certainly an existence in dogma ; but even 
there the personality of the Holy Spirit is only an arbitrary 
decision which is contradicted by impersonal definitions, as for 
example that the Holy Spirit is the gift of the Father and 
Son.f Already the very "procession" of the Holy Ghost pre 
sents an evil prognostic for his personality, for a personal 
being is produced only by generation, not by an indefinite 
emanation or by spiratio. And even the Father, as the repre 
sentative of the rigorous idea of the Godhead, is a personal 
being only according to opinion and assertion, not according 
to his definitions : he is an abstract idea, a purely rationalistic 
being. Only Christ is the plastic personality. To personality 
belongs form; form is the reality of personality. Christ alone 
is the personal God ; he is the real God of Christians, a truth 

* Concordienb. Erklar. Art. 8. 

f This was excellently shown by Faustus Socinus. See his Defcns. 
Animadv. in Assert. Theol. Coll. Posnan. de trino et uno Deo. Irenopoli, 
1656. c. 11. 


which cannot he too often repeated.* In him alone is concen 
trated the Christian religion, the essence of religion in general. 
He alone meets the longing for a personal God ; he alone is an 
existence identical with the nature of feeling ; on him alone 
are heaped all the joys of the imagination, and all the suffer 
ings of the heart; in him alone are feeling and imagination 
exhausted. Christ is the "blending in one of feeling and 

Christianity is distinguished from other religions hy this, 
that in other religions the heart and imagination are divided, 
in Christianity they coincide. Here the imagination does not 
wander, left to itself; it follows the leadings of the heart; it 
describes a circle, whose centre is feeling. Imagination is here 
limited by the wants of the heart, it only realizes the wishes of 
feeling, it has reference only to the one thing needful ; in brief, 
it has, at least generally, a practical, concentric tendency, not a 
vagrant, merely poetic one. The miracles of Christianity 
no product of free, spontaneous activity, but conceived in the 
bosom of yearning, necessitous feeling place us immediately 
on the ground of common, real life ; they act on the emotional 
man with irresistible force, because they have the necessity of 
feeling on their side. The power of imagination is here 
at the same time the power of the heart, imagination is 
only the victorious, triumphant heart. With the orientals, 
with the Greeks, imagination, untroubled by the wants of the 
heart, revelled in the enjoyment of earthly splendour and 

* Let the reader examine, with, reference to this, the writings of the 
Christian orthodox theologians against the heterodox ; for example, against 
the Socinians. Modern theologians, indeed, agree with the latter, as is well 
known, in pronouncing the divinity of Christ as accepted by the Church 
to be unbiblical ; but it is undeniably the characteristic principle of Chris 
tianity, and even if it does not stand in the Bible in the form which is 
fiven to it by dogma, it is nevertheless a necessary consequence of what is 
>und in the Bible. A being who is the fulness of the godhead bodily, 
who is omniscient (John xvi. 30) and almighty (raises the dead, works 
miracles), who is before all things, both in time and rank, who has life in 
himself (though an imparted life) like as the father has life in himself, 
what, if we follow out the consequences, can such a being be, but God ? 
" Christ is one with the Father in will ; " but unity of will presup 
poses unity of nature. " Christ is the ambassador, the representative of 
God ;" but God can only be represented by a divine being. I can only 
choose as my representative one in whom I find the same or similar quali 
ties as in myself; otherwise I belie myself. 

H 2 


glory; in Christianity, it descended from the palace of the gods 
into the abode of poverty, where only want rules, it humbled 
itself under the sway of the heart. But the more it limited 
itself in extent, the more intense became its strength. The 
wantonness of the Olympian gods could not maintain itself 
before the rigorous necessity of the heart ; but imagination is 
omnipotent when it has a bond of union with the heart. And 
this bond between the freedom of the imagination and the 
necessity of the heart is Christ. All things are subject to 
Christ ; he is the Lord of the world who does with it what He 
will : but this unlimited power over Nature is itself again 
subject to the power of the heart; Christ commands raging 
Nature to be still, but only that he may hear the sighs of the 




CHRIST is the omnipotence of subjectivity, the heart released 
from all the bonds and laws of Nature, the soul excluding the 
world, and concentrated only on itself, the reality of all the 
heart's wishes, the Easter festival of the heart, the ascent to 
heaven of the imagination t Christ therefore is the distinc 
tion of Christianity from Heathenism. 

In Christianity, man w r as concentrated only on himself, he 
unlinked himself from the chain of sequences in the system 
of the universe, he made himself a self-sufficing whole, an 
absolute, extra - and supramundane being. Because he no 
longer regarded himself as a being immanent in the world, 
because he severed himself from connexion with it, he felt him 
self an unlimited being (for the sole limit of subjectivity is 
the world, is objectivity), he had no longer any reason to doubt 
the truth and validity of his subjective wishes and feelings. 

The heathens, on the contrary, not shutting out Nature 
by retreating within themselves, limited their subjectivity by 
the contemplation of the world. Highly as the ancients esti 
mated the intelligence, the reason, they were yet liberal and 
objective enough, theoretically as well as practically to allow 
that which they distinguished from mind, namely, matter, to 
live, and even to live eternally ; the Christians evinced their 
theoretical as well as practical intolerance in their belief that 
they secured the eternity of their subjective life, only by anni 
hilating, as in the doctrine of the destruction of the world, the 
opposite of subjectivity Nature. The ancients were free from 
themselves, but their freedom w T as that of indifference towards 
themselves ; the Christians were free from Nature, but their 
freedom was not that of reason, not true freedom, which limits 
itself by the contemplation of the world, by Nature, it was 
the freedom of feeling and imagination, the freedom of miracle. 
The ancients w r ere so enraptured by the Cosmos, that they lost 
sight of themselves, suffered themselves to be merged in the 


whole ; the Christians despised the world ; what is the creature 
compared with the Creator ? what are sun, moon, and earth, 
compared with the human soul?* The world passes away, 
but man, nay, the individual, personal man is eternal. If the 
Christians severed man from all community with Nature, and 
hence fell into the extreme of an arrogant fastidiousness, which 
stigmatized the remotest comparison of man with the brutes as 
an impious violation of human dignity ; the heathens, on the 
other hand, fell into the opposite extreme, into that spirit of 
depreciation which abolishes the distinction between man and 
the brute, or even, as was the case, for example, with Celsus, 
the opponent of Christianity, degrades man beneath the 

But the heathens considered man not only in connexion 
with the universe ; they considered the individual man, in con 
nexion with other men, as member of a commonwealth. They 
rigorously distinguished the individual from the species, the 
individual as a part from the race as a whole, and they subor 
dinated the part to the whole. Men pass away, but mankind 
remains, says a heathen philosopher. " Why wilt thou grieve 
over the loss of thy daughter?" writes Sulpicius to Cicero. 
" Great, renowned cities and empires have passed away, and 
thou behavest thus at the death of an ho-munculus, a little 
human being ! Where is thy philosophy ?" The idea of man 
as an individual was to the ancients a secondary one, attained 
through the idea of the species. Though they thought highly 
of the race, highly of the excellences of mankind, highly and 
sublimely of the intelligence, they nevertheless thought slightly 
of the individual. Christianity, on the contrary, cared nothing 
for the species, and had only the individual in its eye and 
mind. Christianity not, certainly, the Christianity of the 
present day, which has incorporated with itself the cul 
ture of heathenism, and has preserved only the name and 
some general positions of Christianity is the direct opposite 
of heathenism, and only when it is regarded as such is it truly 
comprehended, nnd untravestied by arbitrary speculative inter 
pretation ; it is true so far as its opposite is false, and 

* " How much better is it, that I should lose the whole world than that 
I should lose God, who created the world, and can create innumerable 
worlds, who is better than a hundred thousand, than innumerable worlds ? 
For what sort of a comparison is that of the temporal with the etrril ? 
One soul is better than the whole world." Luther (T. xix. p. 21). 


false so far as its opposite is true. The ancients sacrificed 
the individual to the species ; the Christians sacrificed the 
species to the individual. Or, heathenism conceived the indi 
vidual only as a part in distinction from the whole of the 
species ; Christianity, on the contrary, conceived the individual 
only in immediate, undistinguishable unity with the species. 

To Christianity the individual was the object of an immediate 
Providence, that is, an immediate object of the Divine Being. 
The heathens believed in a Providence for the individual, only 
through his relation to the race, through law, through the order 
of the world, and thus only in a mediate, natural, and not mira 
culous Providence;* but the Christians left out the intermediate 
process, and placed themselves in immediate connexion with 
the prescient, all-embracing, universal Being ; i.e., they imme 
diately identified the individual with the universal being. 

But the idea of deity coincides with the idea of humanity. 
All divine attributes, all the attributes which make God God, 
are attributes of the species attributes, which in the indivi 
dual are limited, but the limits of which are abolished in the 
essence of the species, and even in its existence, in so far as 
it has its complete existence only in all men taken toge 
ther. My knowledge, my will, is limited ; but my limit is not 
the limit of another man, to say nothing of mankind ; what is 
difficult to me is easy to another; what is impossible, incon 
ceivable, to one age, is to the coming age conceivable and 
possible. My life is bound to a limited time ; not so the life of 
humanity. The history of mankind consists of nothing else 
than a continuous and progressive conquest of limits, which 
at a given time pass for the limits of humanity, and there 
fore for absolute insurmountable limits. But the future 
always unveils the fact, that the alleged limits of the species 
were only limits of individuals. The most striking proofs oi 
this are presented by the history of philosophy and of physical 
science. It would be highly interesting and instructive to 
write a history of the sciences entirely from this point of view, 
in order to exhibit in all its vanity the presumptuous notion of 
the individual that he can set limits to his race. Thus the 
species is unlimited ; the individual alone limited. 

* It is true that the heathen philosophers also, as Plato, Socrates, the 
Stidbs (see e. g. J. Lipsius, Physiol. Stoic. 1. i. diss. xi.), believed that the 
divine Providence extended not merely to the general, but also to the par- 


But the sense of limitation is painful, and hence the 
individual frees himself from it by the contemplation of the 
perfect Being ; in this contemplation he possesses what other 
wise is wanting to him. With the Christians God is nothing 
else than the immediate unity of species and individuality, of the 
universal and individual being. God is the idea of the species 
as an individual the idea or essence of the species, which as 
a species, as universal being, as the totality of all perfections, 
of all attributes or realities, freed from all the limits which exist 
in the consciousness and feeling of the individual, is at the 
same time again an individual, personal being. Ipse suum esse 
est. Essence and existence are in God identical ; which means 
nothing else than that he is the idea, the essence of the species, 
conceived immediately as an existence, an individual. The 
highest idea on the stand-point of religion is : God does not 
love, he is himself love ; he does not live, he is life ; he is 
not just, but justice itself; not a person, but personality 
itself, the species, the idea, as immediately a concrete ex 

Because of this immediate unity of the species with indivi 
duality, this concentration of all that is universal and real in 
one personal being, God is a deeply moving object, enrapturing 
to the imagination ; whereas, the idea of humanity has little 
power over the feelings, because humanity is only an abstrac 
tion ; and the reality which presents itself to us in distinction 
from this abstraction, is the multitude of separate, limited indi 
viduals. In God, on the contrary, feeling has immediate satis 
faction, because here all is embraced in one, i. e., because here 
the species has an immediate existence, is an individuality. 
God is love, is justice, as itself a subject; he is the perfect 
universal being as one being, the infinite extension of the species 
as an all- comprehending unity. But God is only man's intui 
tion of his own nature ; thus the Christians are distinguished 

ticular, the individual ; but they identified Providence with Nature, Law, 
Necessity. The Stoics, who were the orthodox speculatists of heathenism, 
did indeed believe in miracles wrought by Providence (Cic. de Nat. Deor. 1. 
ii. and de Divinat. 1. i.) ; but their miracles had no such supranaturalistic 
significance as those of Christianity, though they also appealed to the supra- 
naturalistic axiom : " Nihil est quod Deus efficere non possit." 

* " Dicimur amare et Deus ; dicimur nosse et Deus. Et multa in hunc 
modum. Sed Deus amat ut charitas, novit ut veritas etc." Bernard, (de 
Consider. 1. v.). 


from .the heathens in this, that they immediately identify the 
individual with the species that with them the individual has 
the significance of the species, the individual by himself is held 
to he the perfect representative of the species that they deify 
the human individual, make him the absolute being. 

Especially characteristic is the difference between Christianity 
and Heathenism concerning the relation of the individual to the 
intelligence, to the understanding, to the VOVQ. The Christians 
individualized the understanding, the heathens made it a uni 
versal essence. To the heathens, the understanding, the 
intelligence, was the essence of man ; to the Christians, it was 
only a part of themselves. To the heathens therefore only 
the intelligence, the species, to the Christians the individual, 
was immortal, i. e. divine. Hence follows the further difference 
between heathen and Christian philosophy. 

The most unequivocal expression, the characteristic symbol 
of this immediate identity of the species and individuality in 
Christianity, is Christ, the real God of the Christians. Christ 
is the ideal of humanity become existent, the compendium of 
all moral and divine perfections to the exclusion of all that is 
negative ; pure, heavenly, sinless man, the typical man, the 
Adam Kadmon ; not regarded as the totality of the species, of 
mankind, but immediately as one individual, one person. 
Christ, i. e., the Christian, religious Christ, is therefore not the 
central, but the terminal point of history. The Christians 
expected the end of the world, the close of history. In the 
Bible, Christ himself, in spite of all the falsities and sophisms 
of our exegetists, clearly prophesies the speedy end of the world. 
History rests only on the distinction of the individual from the 
race. Where this distinction ceases, history ceases ; the very 
soul of history is extinct. Nothing remains to man but the 
contemplation and appropriation of this realized Ideal, and the 
spirit of proselytism, which seeks to extend the prevalence of a 
fixed belief, the preaching that God has appeared, and that 
the end of the world is at hand. 

Since the immediate identity of the species and the indi 
vidual oversteps the limits of reason and Nature, it followed of 
course that this universal, ideal individual was declared to be 
a transcendent, supernatural, heavenly being. It is therefore 
a perversity to attempt to deduce from reason the immediate 
identity of the species and individual, for it is only the ima 
gination which effects this identity, the imagination to which 



nothing is impossible, and which is also the creator of miracles ; 
for the greatest of miracles is the being who while he is an 
individual is at the same time the ideal, the species, humanity 
in the fulness of its perfection and infinity, i. e., the Godhead. 
Hence it is also a perversity to adhere to the biblical or 
dogmatic Christ, and yet to thrust aside miracles. If the prin 
ciple be retained, wherefore deny its necessary consequences? 

The total absence of the idea of the species in Christianity 
is especially observable in its characteristic doctrine of the 
universal sinfulness of men. For there lies at the foundation 
of this doctrine the demand that the individual shall not be an 
individual, a demand which again is based on the presupposi 
tion that the individual by himself is a perfect being, is by 
himself the adequate presentation or existence of the species.* 
Here is entirely wanting the objective perception, the con 
sciousness, that the tlwu belongs to the perfection of the /, 
that men are required to constitute humanity, that only men 
taken together are what man should and can be. All men are 
sinners. Granted : but they are not all sinners in the same 
way ; on the contrary, there exists a great and essential differ 
ence between them. One man is inclined to falsehood, another 
is not ; he would rather give up his life than break his word 
or tell a lie ; the third has a propensity to intoxication, the 
fourth to licentiousness ; while the fifth, whether by favour of 
Nature, or from the energy of his character, exhibits none 
of these vices. Thus, in the moral as well as the physical 
and intellectual elements, men compensate for each other, so 
that taken as a whole they are as they should be, they present 
the perfect man. 

Hence intercourse ameliorates and elevates ; involuntarily 
and without disguise, man is different in intercourse from what 
he is when alone. Love especially works wonders, and the love 
of the sexes most of all. Man and woman are the complement 
of each other, and thus united they first present the species, 

* It is true that in one sense the individual is the absolute in the 
phraseology of Leibnitz, the mirror of the universe, of the infinite. But in 
so far as there are many individuals, each is only a single and, as such, a 
finite mirror of the infinite. It is true also, in opposition to the abstraction 
of a sinless man, that each individual regarded in himself is perfect, and 
only by comparison imperfect, for each is what alone he can be. 


the perfect man.* Without species, love is inconceivable. 
Love is nothing else than the self-consciousness of the species 
as evolved within the difference of sex. In love, the reality of 
the species, which otherwise is only a thing of reason, an ohject 
of mere thought, becomes a matter of feeling, a truth of feeling ; 
for in love, man declares himself unsatisfied in his individuality 
taken by itself, he postulates the existence of another as a need 
of the heart ; he reckons another as part of his own being ; he 
declares the life which he has through love to be the truly 
human life, corresponding to the idea of man, i.e., of the species. 
The individual is defective, imperfect, weak, needy ; but love 
is strong, perfect, contented, tree from wants, self-sufficing, 
infinite ; because in it the self- consciousness of the individuality 
is the mysterious self-consciousness of the perfection of the 
race. But this result of love is produced by friendship also, 
at least where it is intense, where it is a religion, f as it was 
with the ancients. Friends compensate for each other ; friend 
ship is a means of virtue, and more : it is itself virtue, 
dependent however on participation. Friendship can only exist 
between the virtuous, as the ancients said. But it cannot be 
based on perfect similarity; on the contrary, it requires diversity, 
for friendship rests on a desire for self-completion. One friend 
obtains through the other what he does not himself possess. 
The virtues of the one atone for the failings of the other. 
Friend justifies friend before God. However faulty a man may 
be, it is a proof that there is a germ of good in him if he has 
worthy men for his friends. If I cannot be myself perfect, I 
yet at least love virtue, perfection in others. If therefore I 
am called to account for any sins, weaknesses and faults, I 
interpose as advocates, as mediators, the virtues of my friend. 
How barbarous, how unreasonable would it be to condemn me 

* With the Hindoos (Inst. of Menu) he alone is " a perfect man who 
consists of three united persons, his wife, himself, and his son. For man 
and wife, and father and son, are one." The Adam of the Old Testament 
also is incomplete without woman; he feels his need of her. But the Adam 
of the New Testament, the Christian, heavenly Adam, the Adam who is 
constituted with a view to the destruction of this world, has no longer 
any sexual impulses or functions. 

f " Hse sane vires amicitise mortis contemptum ingenerare 

potuerunt : quibus pene tantum venerationis, quantum Deorum immor- 
talium ceremoniis debetur. Illis enim publica salus, his privata continetur." 
Valerius Max. 1. iv. c, 7. 


for sins which I doubtless have committed, but which I have 
myself condemned, in loving my friends, who are free from 
these sins ! 

But if friendship and love, which themselves are only sub 
jective realizations of the species, make out of singly imperfect 
beings an at least relatively perfect whole, how much more do 
the sins and failings of individuals vanish in the species 
itself, which has its adequate existence only in the sum total 
of mankind, and is therefore only an object of reason ! Hence 
the lamentation over sin is found only where the human in 
dividual regards himself in his individuality as a perfect, com 
plete being, not needing others for the realization of the 
species, of the perfect man; where instead of the consciousness 
of the species has been substituted the exclusive self-conscious 
ness of the individual; where the individual does not recog 
nise himself as a part of mankind, but identifies himself with the 
species, and for this reason makes his oivn sins, limits and 
weaknesses, the sins, limits and weaknesses of mankind in 
general. Nevertheless man cannot lose the consciousness of 
the species, for his self- consciousness is essentially united to his 
consciousness of another than himself. Where therefore the 
species is not an object to him as a species, it will be an object 
to him as God. He supplies the absence of the idea of the 
species by the idea of God, as the being who is free from the 
limits and wants which oppress the individual, and, in his 
opinion (since he identifies the species with the individual), 
the species itself. But this perfect being, free from the limits 
of the individual, is nothing else than the species, which 
reveals the infinitude of its nature in this, that it is realized in 
infinitely numerous and various individuals. If all men were 
absolutely alike, there would then certainly be no distinction 
between the race and the individual. But in that case the 
existence of many men would be a pure superfluity ; a single 
man would have achieved the ends of the species. In the one 
who enjoyed the happiness of existence, all would have had 
their complete substitute. 

Doubtless the essence of man is one ; but this essence is 
infinite ; its real existence is therefore an infinite, recipro 
cally compensating variety, which reveals the riches of this 
essence. Unity in essence is multiplicity in existence. Be 
tween me and another human being and this other is the 
representative of the species, even though he is only one, for 


he supplies to me the want of many others, has for me a 
universal significance, is the deputy of mankind, in whose 
name he speaks to me, an isolated individual, so that, when 
united only with one, I have a participated, a human life; 
between me and another human heing there is an essential, 
qualitative distinction. The other is my thou, the re 
lation being reciprocal, my alter ego, man objective to me, 
the revelation of my own nature, the eye seeing itself. In 
another I first have the consciousness of humanity ; through 
him I first learn, I first feel, that I am a man : in my love for 
him it is first clear to me that he belongs to me and I to him, 
that we two cannot be without each other, that only com 
munity constitutes humanity. But morally, also, there is a 
qualitative, critical distinction between the I and tliou. 
My fellow-man is my objective conscience; he makes my 
failings a reproach to me, even when he does not expressly 
mention thenv he is my personified feeling of shame. 
The consciousness of the moral law, of right, of propriety, of 
truth itself, is indissolubly united with my consciousness 
of another than myself. That is true in which another 
agrees with me, agreement is the first criterion of truth; but 
only because the species is the ultimate measure of truth. 
That which I think only according to the standard of my 
individuality, is not binding on another, it can be conceived 
otherwise, it is an accidental, merely subjective view. But 
that which I think according to the standard of the species, 
I think as man in general only can think, and consequently as 
every individual must think if he thinks normally, in accordance, 
with law, and therefore truly. That is true which agrees with 
the nature of the species, that is false which contradicts it. 
There is no other rule of truth. But my fellow-man is to me 
the representative of the species, the substitute of the rest, nay 
his judgment may be of more authority with me than the 
judgment of the innumerable multitude. Let the fanatic 
make disciples as the sand on the sea-shore; the sand is 
still sand; mine be the pearl a judicious friend. The 
agreement of others is therefore my criterion of the normal- 
ness, the universality, the truth of my thoughts. I cannot so 
abstract myself from myself as to judge myself with perfect 
freedom and disinterestedness; but another has an impartial 
judgment; through him I correct, complete, extend my own 
judgment, my own taste, my own knowledge. In short, 


there is a qualitative, critical difference between men. But 
Christianity extinguishes this qualitative distinction ; it sets the 
same stamp on all men alike, and regards them as one and the 
same individual, because it knows no distinction between the 
species and the individual : it has one and the same means 
of salvation for all men, it sees one and the same original 
sin in all. 

Because Christianity thus, from exaggerated subjectivity, 
knows nothing of the species, in which alone lies the redemp 
tion, the justification, the reconciliation and cure of the sins 
and deficiencies of the individual, it needed a supernatural and 
peculiar, nay a personal, subjective aid in order to overcome 
sin. If I alone am the species, if no other, that is, no qualita 
tively different men exist, or, which is the same thing, if 
there is no distinction betweeen me and others, if we are all 
perfectly alike, if my sins are not neutralized by the opposite 
qualities of other men : then assuredly my sin is a blot of 
shame which cries up to heaven ; a revolting horror which can 
be exterminated only by extraordinary, superhuman, miraculous 
means. Happily, however, there is a natural reconciliation. 
My fellow-man is per se, the mediator between me and the 
sacred idea of the species. Homo homini Deus est. My sin is 
made to shrink within its limits, is thrust back into its nothing 
ness, by the fact that it is only mine, and not that of my 




THE idea of man as a species, and with it the significance of 
the life of the species, of humanity as a whole, vanished as 
Christianity became dominant. Herein we have a new con 
firmation of the position advanced, that Christianity does not 
contain within itself the principle of culture. Where man 
immediately identifies the species with the individual, and 
posits this identity as his highest being, as God, where the 
idea of humanity is thus an object to him only as the idea of 
Godhead, there the need of culture has vanished ; man has all 
in himself, all in his God, consequently he has no need to 
supply his own deficiencies by others as the representatives of 
the species, or by the contemplation of the world generally; 
and this need is alone the spring of culture. The individual 
man attains his end by himself alone ; he attains it in God, 
God is himself the attained goal, the realized highest aim of 
humanity : but God is present to each individual separately. 
God only is the want of the Christian ; others, the human race, 
the world, are not necessary to him; he has not the inward need 
of others. God fills to me the place of the species, of my fellow- 
men ; yes, when I turn away from the world, when I am in 
isolation, I first truly feel my need of God, I first have a 
lively sense of his presence, I first feel what God is, and what 
he ought to be to me. It is true that the religious man has 
need also of fellowship, of edification in common ; but this 
need of others is always in itself something extremely 
subordinate. The salvation of the soul is the fundamental 
idea, the main point in Christianity; and this salvation lies 
only in God, only in the concentration of the mind on Him. 
Activity for others is required, is a condition of salvation ; but 
the ground of salvation is God, immediate reference in all 
things to God. And even activity for others has only a religious 
significance, has reference only to God, as its motive and end, 


is essentially only an activity for God, for the glorifying of 
his name, the spreading abroad of his praise. But God is 
absolute subjectivity, subjectivity separated from the world, 
above the world, set free from matter, severed from the life of 
the species, and therefore from the distinction of sex. Separa 
tion from the world, from matter, from the life of the species, 
is therefore the essential aim of Christianity.* And this aim had 
its visible, practical realization in Monachism. 

It is a self-delusion to attempt to derive monachism from 
the east. At least, if this derivation is to be accepted, they 
who maintain it should be consistent enough to derive the 
opposite tendency of Christendom, not from. Christianity, but 
from the spirit of the western nations, the occidental nature in 
general. But how, in that case, shall we explain the monastic 
enthusiasm of the west ? Monachism must rather be derived 
directly from Christianity itself: it was a necessary consequence 
of the belief in heaven, promised to mankind by Christianity. 
Where the heavenly life is a truth, the earthly life is a lie ; where 
imagination is all, reality is nothing. To him who believes in 
an eternal heavenly life, the present life loses its value, or 
rather, it has already lost its value : belief in the heavenly life 
is belief in the worthlessness and nothingness of this life. I 
cannot represent to myself the future life without longing for 
it, without casting down a look of compassion or contempt on 
this pitiable earthly life, and the heavenly life can be no object, 
no law of faith, without, at the same time, being a law of morality : 
it must determine my actions, f at least if my life is to be in 
accordance with my faith : I ought not to cleave to the tran 
sitory things of this earth. I ought not ; but neither do I 
wish ; for what are all things here below compared with the 
glory of the heavenly life ?J 

* " The life for God is not this natural life, which is subject to decay. 

Ought we not then to sigh after future things, and be averse to all 

these temporal things? .... Wherefore we should find consolation in 
heartily despising this life and this world, and from our hearts sigh for and 
desire the future honour and glory of eternal life." Luther (Th. i. s. 466, 

f "Eo dirigendus est spiritus, quo aliquando est iturus." Meditat. 
Sacrse Joh. Gerhardi. Med. 46. 

* " Affectanti coelestia, terrena non sapiunt. .ZEternis inhianti, fastidio 
sunt transitoria." Bernard. (Epist. Ex persona Helire monachi ad parentes). 
" Nihil nostra refert in hoc sevo, nisi de eo quam celeriter excedere." Ter- 
tullian (Apol. adv. Gentes, c. 41). " Wherefore a Christian man should 


It is true that the quality of that life depends on the quality, 
the moral condition of this ; but morality is itself determined 
hy the faith in eternal life. The morality corresponding to the 
super- terrestrial life is simply separation from the world, the 
negation of this life : and the practical attestation of this spi 
ritual separation is the monastic life.* Everything must ulti 
mately take an external form, must present itself to the senses. 
An inward disposition must become an outward practice. The 
life of the cloister, indeed ascetic life in general, is the heavenly 
life as it is realized and can be realized here below. If my 
soul belongs to heaven, ought I, nay, can I belong to the 
earth with my body ? The soul animates the body. But if 
the soul is in heaven, the body is forsaken, dead, and thus the 
medium, the organ of connexion between the world and the 
soul is annihilated. Death, the separation of the soul from 
the body, at least from this gross, material, sinful body, is the 
entrance into heaven. But if death is the condition of bless 
edness and moral perfection, then necessarily mortification is 
the one law of morality. Moral death is the necessary antici 
pation of natural death ; I say necessary, for it would be the 
extreme of immorality to attribute the obtaining of heaven to 
physical death, which is no moral act, but a natural one com 
mon to man and the brute. Death must therefore be exalted 
into a moral, a spontaneous act. " I die daily," says the 
apostle, and this dictum Saint Anthony, the founder of mona- 
chism,f made the theme of his life. 

But Christianity, it is contended, demanded only a spiritual 
freedom. True ; but what is that spiritual freedom which does 
not pass into action, which does not attest itself in practice? 
Or dost thou believe that it only depends on thyself, on thy 
will, on thy intention, whether thou be free from anything ? 
If so, thou art greatly in error, and hast never experienced 
what it is to be truly made free. So long as thou art in a 

rather be advised to bear sickness with patience, yea, even to desire that 
death should come, the sooner the better. For, as St. Cyprian says, 
nothing is more for the advantage of a Christian, than soon to die. But 
we rather listen to the pagan Juvenal, when he says : * Orandum est ut sit 
mens sana in corpore sano.' " Luther (Th. iv. s. 15). 

* " Ille perfectus est qui mente et corpore a seculo est elongatus." De 
Modo bene Vivendi ad Sororem, s. vii. (Among the spurious writings of 
St. Bernard.) 

f On this subject see " Hieronymus, de Vita Pauli primi Eremitse." 


given rank, profession, or relation, so long art thou, willingly 
or not, determined by it. Thy will, thy determination, frees 
thee only from conscious limitations and impressions, not from 
the unconscious ones which lie in the nature of the case. Thus 
we do not feel at home, we are under constraint, so long as we 
are not locally, physically separated from one with whom we 
have inwardly broken. External freedom is alone the full 
truth of spiritual freedom. A man who has really lost spiritual 
interest in earthly treasures, soon throws them out at window, 
that his heart may be thoroughly at liberty. What I no longer 
possess by inclination is a burden to me ; so away with it ! 
What affection has let go, the hand no longer holds fast. Only 
affection gives force to the grasp; only affection makes pos 
session sacred. He who having a wife is as though he had her 
not, will do better to have no wife at all. To have as though 
one had not, is to have without the disposition to have, is in 
truth not to have. And therefore he who says, that one ought 
to have a thing as though one had it not, merely says in a 
subtle, covert, cautious way, that one ought not to have it at 
all. That which I dismiss from my heart is no longer mine, 
it is free as air. St. Anthony took the resolution to renounce 
the world when he had once heard the saying, " If thou wilt 
be perfect, go thy way, sell that thou hast and give to the 
poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven; and come and 
follow me." St. Anthony gave the only true interpretation of 
this text. He went his way, and sold his possessions, and gave 
the proceeds to the poor. Only thus did he prove his spiritual 
freedom from the treasures of this world.* 

Such freedom, such truth, is certainly in contradiction with 
the Christianity of the present day, according to which the 
Lord has required only a spiritual freedom, i. e., a freedom 
which demands no sacrifice, no energy, an illusory, self- 
deceptive freedom ; a freedom from earthly good, which con 
sists in its possession and enjoyment ! For certainly the 
Lord said, " My yoke is easy." How harsh, how unreasonable 
would Christianity be, if it exacted from man the renunciation 

* Naturally, Christianity had only such power when, as Jerome 
writes to Demetrius, Domini nostri adhuc calebat criior et fervebat recens 
in credentibus fides. See also on this subject G. Arnold. Von der ersten 
Christen GrenugsamTceit u. Verscliinalmny alles Eigennutzes, 1, c. B. iv. c. 
12, 7 16. 


of earthly riches ! Then assuredly Christianity would not be 
suited to this world. So far from this, Christianity is in the 
highest degree practical and judicious; it defers the freeing 
oneself from the wealth and pleasures of this world to the 
moment of natural death; (monkish mortification is an un 
christian suicide) and allots to our spontaneous activity the 
acquisition and enjoyment of earthly possessions. Genuine 
Christians do not indeed doubt the truth of the heavenly life, 
God forbid! Therein they still agree with the ancient 
monks ; but they await that life patiently, submissive to the 
will of God, i. e., to their own selfishness, to the agreeable 
pursuit of worldly enjoyment.* But I turn away with loath 
ing and contempt from modern Christianity, in which the bride 
of Christ readily acquiesces in polygamy, at least in succes 
sive polygamy, and this in the eyes of the true Christian 
does not essentially differ from contemporaneous polygamy; 
but yet at the same time oh! shameful hypocrisy! swears 
by the eternal, universally binding, irrefragable, sacred truth 
of God's word. I turn back with reverence to the miscon 
ceived truth of the chaste monastic cell, where the soul 
betrothed to heaven did not allow itself to be wooed into 
faithlessness by a strange, earthly body ! 

The unworldly, supernatural life is essentially also an un 
married life. The celibate lies already, though not in the form 
of a law, in the inmost nature of Christianity. This is suf 
ficiently declared in the supernatural origin of the Saviour, 
a doctrine in which unspotted virginity is hallowed as the 
saving principle, as the principle of the new, the Christian 
world. Let not such passages as, " Be fruitful and multiply," 
or, " What God has joined together let not man put asunder," 
be urged as a sanction of marriage. The first passage relates, 
as Tertullian and Jerome have already observed, only to the 
unpeopled earth, not to the earth when filled with men, only to 
the beginning not to the end of the world, an end which was 

* How far otherwise the ancient Christians ! " Difficile, imo impossible 
est, ut et praesentibus quis et futuris fruatur bonis." Hieronymus (Epist. 
Juliano). " Delicatus es, frater, si et hie vis gaudere cum seculo et postea 
regnare cum Christo." Ib. (Epist. ad Heliodorum). " Ye wish to have both 
God and the creature together, and that is impossible. Joy in God and joy 
in the creature cannot subsist together." Tauler (ed. c. p. 334). But they 
were abstract Christians. And we live now in the age of conciliation. 
Yes, truly ! 


initiated by the immediate appearance of God upon earth. 
And the second also refers only to marriage as an institution 
of the Old Testament. Certain Jews proposed the question 
whether it were lawful for a man to separate from his wife ; and 
the most appropriate way of dealing with this question was the an 
swer above cited. He who has once concluded a marriage ought 
to hold it sacred. Marriage is intrinsically an indulgence to 
the weakness or rather the strength of the flesh, an evil which 
therefore must be restricted as much as possible. The indis- 
solubleness of marriage is a nimbus, a sacred irradiance, which 
expresses precisely the opposite of what minds, dazzled and 
perturbed by its lustre, seek beneath it. Marriage in itself is, 
in the sense of perfected Christianity, a sin,* or rather a weak 
ness, which is permitted and forgiven thee only on condition 
that thou for ever limitest thyself to a single wife. In short, 
marriage is hallowed only in the Old Testament, but not in the 
New. The New Testament knows a higher, a supernatural 
principle, the mystery of unspotted virginity.f " He who can 
receive it let him receive it." " The children of this world 
marry, and are given in marriage : but they which shall be 
accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection 
from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage : 
neither can they die any more : for they are equal unto the 
angels ; and are the children of God, being the children of 
the resurrection." Thus in heaven there is no marriage ; the 
principle of sexual love is excluded from heaven as an earthly, 
worldly principle. But the heavenly life is the true, perfected, 
eternal life of the Christian. Why then should I, who am 
destined for heaven, form a tie which is unloosed in my true 
destination ? Why should I, who am potentially a heavenly 
being, not realize this possibility even here ? j Marriage is 
already proscribed from my mind, my heart, since it is expelled 

* " Perfectum autem esse nolle delinquere est." Hieronymus (Epist. ad 
Heliodorum de laude Vitse solit.). Let me observe once for all that I 
interpret the biblical passages concerning marriage in the sense in which 
they have been interpreted by the history of Christianity. 

f- " The marriage state is nothing new or unwonted, and is lauded and 
held good even by heathens according to the judgment of reason." 
Luther (Th. ii. p. 377a). 

" Prsesumendum est hos qui intra Paradisum recipi volunt debere ces- 
sare ab eare,aquaparadisus intactus est." Tertullian(de Exhort, cast. c. 13). 
"Crelibatusangelorumestiniitatio." Jo. Damasceni (Orthod. Fidei,!. iv. c. 25). 


from heaven, the essential object of my faith, hope, and life. 
How can an earthly wife have a place in my heaven- filled 
heart ? How can I divide my heart between God and man ?* 
The Christian's love to God is not an abstract or general love 
such as the love of truth, of justice, of science; it is a love to 
a subjective, personal God, and is therefore a subjective, per 
sonal love. It is an essential attribute of this love that it is 
an exclusive, jealous love, for its object is a personal and at the 
same time the highest being, to whom no other can be com 
pared. " Keep close to Jesus [Jesus Christ is the Christian's 
God], in life and in death; trust his faithfulness: he alone 
can help thee, when all else leaves thee. Thy beloved has this 
quality, that he will suffer no rival ; he alone will have thy 
heart, will rule alone in thy soul as a king on his throne." 
" What can the world profit thee without Jesus ? To be 
without Christ is the pain of hell ; to be with Christ, heavenly 
sweetness." " Thou canst not live without a friend : but if 
the friendship of Christ is not more than all else to thee, thou 
wilt be beyond measure sad and disconsolate." " Love every 
thing for Jesus' sake, but Jesus for his own sake. Jesus 
Christ alone is worthy to be loved." " My God, my love [my 
heart] : Thou art wholly mine, and I am wholly Thine." 
" Love hopes and trusts ever in God, even when God is not 
gracious to it [or tastes bitter, non sapit] ; for we cannot live 

in love without sorrow For the sake of the beloved, the 

loving one must accept all things, even the hard and bitter."^ 
" My God and my All .... In Thy presence everything is sweet 
to me, in Thy absence everything is distasteful .... Without 
Thee nothing can please me." " O when at last will that 
blessed, longed-for hour appear, when Thou wilt satisfy me 
wholly, and be all in all to me ? So long as this is not granted 
-me, my joy is only fragmentary." " When was it well with me 
without Thee ? or when was it ill with me in Thy presence ? 
I will rather be poor for Thy sake, than rich without Thee. 
I will rather be a pilgrim on earth with Thee, than the pos 
sessor of heaven without Thee. Where Thou art is heaven ; 
death and hell where Thou art not. I long only for Thee." 
" Thou canst not serve God and at the same time have thy 

* " Quse non nubit, soli Deo dat operam et ejus cura non dividitur ; 
pudica autem, quse nupsit, vitam cum Deo et cum marito dividit." 
Clemens Alex. (Paedag. 1. ii.). 


joys in earthly things : thou must wean thyself from all ac 
quaintances and friends, and sever thy soul from all temporal 
consolation. Believers in Christ should regard themselves, 
according to the admonition of the Apostle Peter, only as 
strangers and pilgrims on the earth."* Thus, love to God as 
a personal heing is a literal, strict, personal, exclusive love. 
How then can I at once love God and a mortal wife ? Do 
I not thereby place God on the same footing with my wife ? 
No ! to a soul which truly loves God, the love of woman is an 
impossibility, is adultery. " He that is unmarried," says the 
apostle Paul, "careth for the things that belong to the Lord, 
how he may please the Lord ; but he that is married careth for 
the things that are of the world, how he may please his wife." 

The true Christian not only feels no need of culture, because 
this is a worldly principle and opposed to feeling ; he has also 
no need of (natural) love. God supplies to him the want of 
culture, and in like manner God supplies to him the want of 
love, of a wife, of a family. The Christian immediately iden 
tifies the species with the individual ; hence he strips off the 
difference of sex as a burdensome, accidental adjunct, f Man 
and woman together first constitute the true man, man and 
woman together are the existence of the race ; for their union 
is the source of multiplicity, the source of other men. Hence 
the man who does not deny his manhood, is conscious that he 
is only a part of a being, which needs another part for the 
making up of the whole, of true humanity. The Christian, 
on the contrary, in his excessive, transcendental subjectivity, 
conceives that he is, by himself, a perfect being. But the 
sexual instinct runs counter to this view ; it is in contra 
diction with his ideal : the Christian must therefore deny this 

The Christian certainly experienced the need of sexual love, 
but only as a need in contradiction with his heavenly desti 
nation, and merely natural, in the depreciatory, contemptuous 

* Thomas a Kempis de Imit. (1. ii. c. 7, c. 8, 1. iii. c. 5, c. 34, c. 53, c. 59). 
" Felix ilia conscientia et beata virginitas, in cujus eorde prseter amorem 

Christi nullus alms versatur amor." Hieronymus (Demetriadi, 

Virgini Deo consecrates) . 

f " Divisa est .... mulier et virgo. Vide quantse felicitatis sit, quse et 
nomen sexus amiserit. Virgo jam mulier non vocatur." Hieronymus (adv. 
Helvidium de perpet. Virg. p. 14. T. ii. Erasmus). 


sense which this word had in Christianity, not as a moral, 
inward need, not, if I may so express myself, as a metaphy 
sical, i.e., an essential need, which man can experience only 
where he does not separate difference of sex from himself, hut 
on the contrary regards it as belonging to his inmost nature. 
Hence marriage is not holy in Christianity; at least it is so 
only apparently, illusively ; for the natural principle of mar 
riage, which is the love of the sexes, however civil marriage 
may in endless instances contradict this, is in Christianity an 
unholy thing, and excluded from heaven.* But that which 
man excludes from heaven, he excludes from his true nature. 
Heaven is his treasure-casket. Believe not in what he esta 
blishes on earth, what he permits and sanctions here : here he 
must accommodate himself ; here many things come athwart 
him which do not fit into his system; here he shuns thy 
glance, for he finds himself among strangers who intimidate 
him. But watch for him when he throws off his incognito, 
and shows himself in his true dignity, his heavenly state. In 
heaven he speaks as he thinks ; there thou hearest his true 
opinion. Where his heaven is, there is his heart, heaven is 
his heart laid open. Heaven is nothing but the idea of the 
true, the good, the valid, of that which ought to be; earth, 
nothing but the idea of the untrue, the unlawful, of that which 
ought not to be. The Christian excludes from heaven the life 
of the species : there the species ceases, there dwell only pure 
sexless individuals, " spirits;" there absolute subjectivity reigns: 
thus the Christian excludes the life of the species from his 

* This may be expressed as follows : Marriage has in Christianity only 
a moral, no religious significance, no religious principle and exemplar. It 
is otherwise with the Greeks, where, for example, " Zeus and Here are the 
great archetype of every marriage " (Creuzer, Symbol.) ; with the ancient 
Parsees, where procreation, as " the multiplication of the human race, is the 
dimiimtion of the empire of Ahriman," and thus a religious act and duty 
(Zend-Avesta) ; with the Hindoos, where the son is the regenerated father. 
Among the Hindoos no regenerate man could assume the rank of a Sany- 
assi, that is, of an anchorite absorbed in God, if he had not previously paid 
three debts, one of which was that he had had a legitimate son. Amongst 
the Christians on the contrary, at least the Catholics, it was a true festival 
of religious rejoicing when betrothed or even married persons supposing 
that it happened with mutual consent renounced the married state and 
sacrificed conjugal to religious love. 


conception of the true life; he pronounces the principle of 
marriage sinful, negative ; for the sinless, positive life is the 
heavenly one.* 

* Inasmuch as the religious consciousness restores everything which it 
begins by abolishing, and the future life is ultimately nothing else than 
the present life re-established, it follows that sex must be re-esta 
blished. " Erunt similes angelorum. Ergo homines non desinent 

. . . . ut apostolus apostolus sit et Maria Maria." Hieronymus (ad Theo- 
doram Viduam). But as the body in the other world is an incorporeal 
body, so necessarily the sex there is one without difference, i.e., a sexless sex. 



THE onwedded and ascetic life is the direct way to the heavenly, 
immortal life, for heaven is nothing else than life liberated 
from the conditions of the species, supernatural, sexless, abso 
lutely subjective life. The belief in personal immortality has at 
its foundation the belief that difference of sex is only an ex 
ternal adjunct of individuality, that in himself the individual 
is a sexless, independently complete, absolute being. But he 
who belongs to no sex, belongs to no species ; sex is the cord 
which connects the individuality with the species, and he who 
belongs to no species, belongs only to himself, is an altogether 
independent, divine, absolute being. Hence only when the 
species vanishes from the consciousness is the heavenly life a 
certainty. He who lives in the consciousness of the species, 
and consequently of its reality, lives also in the consciousness 
of the reality of sex. He does not regard it as a mechanically 
inserted, adventitious stone of stumbling, but as an inherent 
quality, a chemical constituent of his being. He indeed re 
cognises himself as a man in the broader sense, but he is 
at the same time conscious of being rigorously determined by 
the sexual distinction, which penetrates not only bones and 
marrow, but also his inmost self, the essential mode of his 
thought, will, and sensation. He therefore who lives in the 
consciousness of the species, who limits and determines his 
feelings and imagination by the contemplation of real life, of 
real man, can conceive no life in which the life of the species 
and therewith the distinction of sex is abolished ; he regards 
the sexless individual, the heavenly spirit, as an agreeable 
figment of the imagination. 

But just as little as the real man can abstract himself from 
the distinction of sex, so little can he abstract himself from 
his moral or spiritual constitution, which indeed is profoundly 
connected with his natural constitution. Precisely because he 
lives in the contemplation of the w r hole, he also lives in the 
consciousness that he is himself no more than a part, and that 



he is what he is only by virtue of the conditions which consti 
tute him a member of the whole, or a relative whole. Every 
one, therefore, justifiably regards his occupation, his profession, 
his art or science, as the highest ; for the mind of man is 
nothing but the essential mode of his activity. He who is 
skilful in his profession, in his art, he who fills his post well, 
and is entirely devoted to his calling, thinks that calling the 
highest and best. How can he deny in thought, what he em 
phatically declares in act by the joyful devotion of all his 
powers ? If I despise a thing, how can I dedicate to it my 
time and faculties ? If I am compelled to do so in spite of 
my aversion, my activity is an unhappy one, for I am at war 
with myself. Work is worship. But how can I worship or 
serve an object, how can I subject myself to it, if it does not 
hold a high place in my mind ? In brief, the occupations of 
men determine their judgment, their mode of thought, their 
sentiments. And the higher the occupation, the more com 
pletely does a man identify himself with it. In general, what 
ever a man makes the essential aim of his life, he proclaims to 
be his soul ; for it is the principle of motion in him. But 
through his aim, through the activity in which he realizes this 
aim, man is not only something for himself, but also some 
thing for others, for the general life, the species. He there 
fore who lives in the consciousness of the species as a reality, 
regards his existence for others, his relation to society, his 
utility to the public, as that existence which is one with the 
existence of his own essence as his immortal existence. He 
lives with his whole soul, with his whole heart, for humanity. 
How can he hold in reserve a special existence for himself, 
how can he separate himself from mankind ? How shall he 
deny in death what he has enforced in life ? And in life his 
faith is this : Nee sibi sed toti genitum se credere mundo. 

The heavenly life, or what we do not here distinguish from 
it personal immortality, is a characteristic doctrine of Chris 
tianity. It is certainly in part to be found among the heathen 
philosophers ; but with them it had only the significance of a 
subjective conception, because it was not connected with their 
fundamental view of things. How contradictory, for example, 
are the expressions of the Stoics on this subject! It was among 
the Christians that personal immortality first found that prin 
ciple, whence it follows as a necessary and obvious conse 
quence. The contemplation of the world, of Nature, of the 


race, was always coming athwart the ancients ; they distin 
guished between the principle of life and the living subject, 
between the soul, the mind, and self: whereas the Christian 
abolished the distinction between soul and person, species and 
individual, and therefore placed immediately in self what belongs 
only to the totality of the species. But the immediate unity of 
the species and individuality, is the highest principle, the God 
of Christianity, in it the individual has the significance of the 
absolute being, and the necessary, immanent consequence of 
this principle is personal immortality. 

Or rather : the belief in personal immortality is perfectly 
identical with the belief in a personal God ; i. e., that which 
expresses the belief in the heavenly, immortal life of the person, 
expresses God also, as he is an object to Christians, namely, 
as absolute, unlimited personality. Unlimited personality is 
God ; but heavenly personality, or the perpetuation of human 
personality in heaven, is nothing else than personality released 
from all earthly encumbrances and limitations ; the only dis 
tinction is, that God is heaven spiritualized, while heaven is 
God materialized, or reduced to the forms of the senses: that 
what in God is posited only in abstracto is in heaven more an 
object of the imagination. God is the implicit heaven ; heaven 
is the explicit God. In the present, God is the kingdom 
of heaven; in the future, heaven is God. God is the pledge, 
the as yet abstract presence and existence of heaven ; the anti 
cipation, the epitome of heaven. Our own future existence, 
which, while we are in this world, in this body, is a separate, 
objective existence, is God: God is the idea of the species, 
which will be first realized, individualized in the other world. 
God is the heavenly, pure, free essence, which exists there as 
heavenly pure beings, the bliss which there unfolds itself in a 
plenitude of blissful individuals. Thus God is nothing else 
than the idea or the essence of the absolute, blessed, heavenly 
life, here comprised in an ideal personality. This is clearly 
enough expressed in the belief that the blessed life is unity 
with God. Here we are distinguished and separated from God, 
there the partition falls ; here we are men, there gods ; here the 
Godhead is a monopoly, there it is a common possession ; here 
it is an abstract unity, there a concrete multiplicity.* 

* " Berie dicitur, quod tune plene videbimus eum sicuti est, cum similes 
ei erimus, h. e. erimus quod ipse est. Quibus enim potestas data est filios 

I 2 


The only difficulty in the recognition of this is created by 
the imagination, which, on the one hand by the conception 
of the personality of God, on the other by the conception of 
the many personalities which it places in a realm ordinarily 
depicted in the hues of the senses, hides the real unity of the 
idea. But in truth there is no distinction between the absolute 
life which is conceived as God and the absolute life which is 
conceived as heaven, save that in heaven we have stretched into 
length and breadth what in God is concentrated in one point. 
The belief in the immortality of man is the belief in the divinity 
of man, and the belief in God is the belief in pure person 
ality, released from all limits, and consequently eo ipso 
immortal. The distinctions made between the immortal soul 
and God are either sophistical or imaginative ; as when, for 
example, the bliss of the inhabitants of heaven is again circum 
scribed by limits, and distributed into degrees, in order to 
establish a distinction between God and the dwellers in heaven. 

The identity of the divine and heavenly personality is appa 
rent even in the popular proofs of immortality. If there is not 
another and a better life, God is not just and good. The jus 
tice and goodness of God are thus made dependent on the 
perpetuity of individuals : but without justice and goodness 
God is not God; the Godhead, the existence of God, is there 
fore made dependent on the existence of individuals. If I am 
not immortal, I believe in no God ; he who denies immortality, 
denies God. But that is impossible to me : as surely as there 
is a God, so surely is there an immortality. God is the cer 
tainty of my future felicity. The interest I have in knowing 
that God is, is one with the interest I have in knowing that I 
am, that I am immortal. God is my hidden, my assured exist 
ence ; he is the subjectivity of subjects, the personality of 
persons. How then should that not belong to persons which 
belongs to personality ? In God I make my future into a 

Dei fieri, data est potestas, non quidem ut sint Deus, sed sint tamen quod 
Deus est : sint sancti, futuri plene beati, quod Deus est. Nee aliunde hie 
saneti, nee ibi futuri beati, quam ex Deo qui eorum et sanctitas et beatitude 
est." De Yita solitaria (among the spurious writings of St. Bernard). 
"Finis autena bonse voluntatis beatitude est: vita seternaipse Deus." Augus- 
tin. (ap. Petrus Lomb. 1. ii. dist. 38, c. 1). " The other man will be reno 
vated in the spiritual life, i. e. will become a spiritual man, when he shall 
be restored into the image of God. For he will be like God, in life, in 
righteousness, glory, and wisdom." Luther (T. i p. 324). 


present, or rather a verb into a substantive; how should I 
separate the one from the other ? God is the existence corre 
sponding to my wishes and feelings : he is the just one, the good, 
who fulfils my wishes. Nature, this world, is an existence 
which contradicts my wishes, my feelings. Here it is not as 
it ought to be ; this world passes away : but God is existence 
as it ought to be. God fulfils my wishes ; this is only a popular 
personification of the position : God is the fulfiller, i. e., the 
reality, the fulfilment of my wishes.* But heaven is the exist 
ence adequate to my wishes, my longing ; f thus, there is no 
distinction between God and heaven. God is the power by 
which man realizes his eternal happiness ; God is the absolute 
personality in which all individual persons have the certainty 
of their blessedness and immortality ; God is to subjectivity the 
highest, last certainty of its absolute truth and essentiality. 

The doctrine of immortality is the final doctrine of religion ; 
its testament, in which it declares its last wishes. Here there 
fore it speaks out undisguisedly what it has hitherto suppressed. 
If elsewhere the religious soul concerns itself with the existence 
of another being, here it openly considers only its own exist 
ence ; if elsewhere in religion man makes his existence de 
pendent on the existence of God, he here makes the reality of 
God dependent on his own reality ; and thus what elsewhere 
is a primitive, immediate truth to him, is here a derivative, 
secondary truth : if I am not immortal, God is not God ; if 
there is no immortality, there is no God ; a conclusion already 
drawn by the apostle Paul. If we do not rise again, then 
Christ is not risen, and all is vain. Let us eat and drink. 
It is certainly possible to do away with what is apparently 
or really objectionable in the popular argumentation, by avoid 
ing the inferential form ; but this can only be done by making 
immortality an analytic instead of a synthetic truth, so as to 
show that the very idea of God as absolute personality or 

" Si bomim est habere corpus incorruptibile, quare hoc facturum Deum 
volumus desperare ?" Augustinus (Opp. Antwerp. 1700. T. v. p. 698). 

f " Quare dicitur spiritale corpus, nisi quia ad nutum spiritus serviet ? 
Nihil tibi contradicet ex te, nihil in te rebellabit adversus te, . . . . Ubi 

volueris, eris Credere enim debemus talia corpora nos habituros, ut 

ubi velimus, quando voluerimus, ibi simus." Augustinus (1. c. p. 703, 705). 
" Nihil indecorum ibi erit, summa pax erit, nihil discordans, nihil monstruo- 
sum, nihil quod offendat adspectum." (1. c. 707). " Nisi beatus, non vivit ut 
vult." (De Civ. Dei, L 14, c. 25). 


subjectivity, is per se the idea of immortality. God is the 
guarantee of my future existence, because he is already the 
certainty and reality of my present existence, my salvation, 
my trust, my shield from the forces of the external world ; hence 
I need not expressly deduce immortality, or prove it as a 
separate truth, for if I have God, I have immortality also. 
Thus it was with the more profound Christian mystics; to 
them the idea of immortality was involved in the idea of God ; 
God was their immortal life, God himself their subjective 
blessedness : he was for them, for their consciousness, what he 
is in himself, that is, in the essence of religion. 

Thus it is shown that God is heaven ; that the two are 
identical. It would have been easier to prove the converse, 
namely, that heaven is the true God of men. As man con 
ceives his heaven, so he conceives his God ; the content of his 
idea of heaven is the content of his idea of God, only that 
what in God is a mere sketch, a concept, is in heaven depicted 
and developed in the colours and forms of the senses. Heaven 
is therefore the key to the deepest mysteries of religion. 
As heaven is objectively the displayed nature of God, so 
subjectively it is the most candid declaration of the inmost 
thoughts and dispositions of religion. For this reason, religions 
are as various as are the kingdoms of heaven, and there are as 
many different kingdoms of heaven as there are characteristic 
differences among men. The Christians themselves have very 
heterogeneous conceptions of heaven.* 

The more judicious among them, however, think and say 
nothing definite about heaven or the future world in general, 
on the ground that it is inconceivable, that it can only be 
thought of by us according to the standard of this world, a 
standard not applicable to the other. All conceptions of heaven 
here below are, they allege, mere images, whereby man repre 
sents to himself that future, the nature of which is unknown 
to him, but the existence of which is certain. It is just so 
with God. The existence of God, it is said, is certain ; but 

* And their conceptions of God are just as heterogeneous. The pious 
Germans have a " German God," the pious Spaniards a Spanish God, the 
French a French God. The French actually have the proverb : " Le bon 
Dieu est Franpais." In fact polytheism must exist so long as there are 
various nations. The real God of a people is the point d'hotmeur of its 


what he is, or how he exists, is inscrutable. But he who 
speaks thus, has already driven the future world out of his 
head ; he still holds it fast, either because he does not think at 
all about such matters, or because it is still a want of his 
heart; but, preoccupied with real things, he thrusts it as far 
as possible out of his sight ; he denies with his head what he 
affirms with his heart; for it is to deny the future life, to 
deprive it of the qualities, by which alone it is a real and 
effective object for man. Quality is not distinct from existence ; 
quality is nothing but real existence. Existence without 
quality is a chimera, a spectre. Existence is first made 
known to me by quality ; not existence first, and after that, 
quality. The doctrines that God is not to be known or de 
fined, 'and that the nature of the future life is inscrutable, are 
therefore not originally religious doctrines : on the contrary, 
they are the products of irreligion while still in bondage 
to religion, or rather hiding itself behind religion ; and they 
are so for this reason, that originally the existence of God is 
posited only with a definite conception of God, the existence 
of a future life only with a definite conception of that life. 
Thus to the Christian, only his own paradise, the paradise 
which has Christian qualities, is a certainty, not the paradise 
of the Mahometan or the Elysium of the Greeks. The 
primary certainty is everywhere quality ; existence follows of 
course, when once quality is certain. In the New Testament 
we find no proofs, or general propositions such as : there is a 
God, there is a heavenly life ; we find only qualities of the 
heavenly life adduced; " in heaven they marry not." Natu 
rally; it may be answered, because the existence of God and 
of heaven is presupposed. But here reflection introduces a 
distinction of which the religious sentiment knows nothing. 
Doubtless the existence is presupposed, but only because the 
quality is itself existence, because the inviolate religious 
feeling lives only in the quality, just as to the natural man, 
the real existence, the thing in itself, lies only in the quality 
which he perceives. Thus in the passage above cited from 
the New Testament, the virgin or rather sexless life is pre 
supposed as the true life, which, however, necessarily becomes 
a future one, because the actual life contradicts the ideal of the 
true life. But the certainty of this future life lies only in the 
certainty of its qualities as those of the true, highest life, 
adequate to the ideal. 


Where the future life is really believed in, where it is a cer 
tain life, there, precisely because it is certain, it is also definite. 
If I know not now what and how I shall be ; if there is an 
essential, absolute difference between my future and my pre 
sent; neither shall I then know what and how I was before, the 
unity of consciousness is at an end, personal identity is abolished, 
another being will appear in my place ; and thus my future 
existence is not in fact distinguished from non-existence. If, 
on the other hand, there is no essential difference, the future 
is to me an object that may be defined and known. And so it 
is in reality. I am the abiding subject under changing con 
ditions ; I am the substance which connects the present and 
the future into a unity. How then can the future be obscure 
to me ? On the contrary, the life of this world is the dark, 
incomprehensible life, which only becomes clear through the 
future life ; here I am in disguise ; there the mask will fall ; 
there I shall be as I am in truth. Hence the position that 
there indeed is another, a heavenly life, but that what and how 
it is must here remain inscrutable, is only an invention of re 
ligious scepticism which, being entirely alien to the religious 
sentiment, proceeds upon a total misconception of religion. 
That which irreligious-religious reflection converts into a 
known image of an unknown yet certain thing, is originally, in 
the primitive, true sense of religion, not an image, but the 
thing itself. Unbelief, in the garb of belief, doubts the exist 
ence of the thing, but it is too shallow or cowardly directly to 
call it in question ; it only expresses doubt of the image or 
conception, i.e., declares the image to be only an image. But 
the untruth and hollowness of this scepticism has been 
already made evident historically. Where it is once doubted 
that the images of immortality are real, that it is possible to 
exist as faith conceives, for example, without a material, real 
body, and without difference of sex ; there the future exist 
ence in general, is soon a matter of doubt. With the image 
falls the thing, simply because the image is the thing itself. 

The belief in heaven, or in a future life in general, rests on 
a mental judgment. It expresses praise and blame; it selects 
a wreath from the Flora of this world, and this critical flori- 
legium is heaven. That which man thinks beautiful, good, 
agreeable, is for him what alone ought to be ; that which he 
thinks bad, odious, disagreeable, is what ought not to be, and 
hence, since it nevertheless exists, it is condemned to destruc- 


tion, it is regarded as a negation. Where life is not in contra 
diction with a feeling, an imagination, an idea, and where this 
feeling, this idea, is not held authoritative and absolute, the 
belief in another and a heavenly life does not arise. The future 
life is nothing else than life in unison with the feeling, with the 
idea, which the present life contradicts. The whole import of 
the future life is the abolition of this discordance,, and the real 
ization of a state which corresponds to the feelings, in which 
man is in unison with himself. An unknown, unimagined 
future is a ridiculous chimera : the other world is nothing 
more than the reality of a known idea, the satisfaction of a 
conscious desire, the fulfilment of a wish ;* it is only the re 
moval of limits which here oppose themselves to the realization 
of the idea. Where would be the consolation, where the sig 
nificance of a future life, if it were midnight darkness to me ? 
No! from yonder world there streams upon me with the splen 
dour of virgin gold, what here shines only with the dimness of 
unrefined ore. The future world has no other significance, 
no other basis of its existence, than the separation of 
the metal from the admixture of foreign elements, the se 
paration of the good from the bad, of the pleasant from the 
unpleasant, of the praiseworthy from the blamable. The future 
world is the bridal in which man concludes his union with his 
beloved. Long has he loved his bride, long has he yearned 
after her ; but external relations, hard reality, have stood in 
the way of his union to her. When the wedding takes 
place, his beloved one does not become a different being ; else 
how could he so ardently long for her ? She only becomes 
his own ; from an object of yearning and affectionate desire she 
becomes an object of actual possession. It is true that here 
below, the other world is only an image, a conception ; still it 
is not the image of a remote, unknown thing, but a portrait of 
that which man loves and prefers before all else. What man 
loves is his soul. The heathens enclosed the ashes of the 
beloved dead in an urn ; with the Christian the heavenly future 
is the mausoleum in which he enshrines his Soul. 

* "Ibi nostra spes erit res." Augustin. "Therefore we have the first 
fruits of immortal life in hope, until perfection comes at the last day, where 
in we shall see and feel the life we have believed in and hoped for." 
Luther (Th. i. s. 459). 

i 3 


In order to comprehend a particular faith, or religion in 
general, it is necessary to consider religion in its rudimentary 
stages, in its lowest, rudest condition. Religion must not only 
he traced in an ascending line, hut surveyed in the entire 
course of its existence. It is requisite to regard the various 
earlier religions as present in the absolute religion, and not 
as left hehind it in the past, in order correctly to appreciate 
and comprehend the absolute religion as well as the others. 
The most frightful " aberrations," the wildest excesses of the 
religious consciousness, often afford the profoundest insight 
into the mysteries of the absolute religion. Ideas seemingly 
the rudest are often only the most child-like, innocent and 
true. This observation applies to the conceptions of a future 
life. The " savage," whose consciousness does not extend be 
yond his own country, whose entire being is a growth of its 
soil, takes his country with him into the other world, either 
leaving Nature as it is, or improving it, and so overcoming in 
the idea of the other life the difficulties he experiences in this.* 
In this limitation of uncultivated tribes there is a striking trait. 
With them the future expresses nothing else than home 
sickness. Death separates man from his kindred, from his 
people, from his country. But the man who has not extended 
his consciousness, cannot endure this separation; he must 
come back again to his native land. The negroes in the West 
Indies killed themselves that they might come to life again in 
their father-land. And according to Ossian's conception " the 
spirits of those who die in a strange land float back towards 
their birth-place. "f This limitation is the direct opposite of 
imaginative spiritualism, which makes man a vagabond, who, 
indifferent even to the earth, roams from star to star; and 
certainly there lies a real truth at its foundation. Man is what 
he is through Nature, however much may belong to his spon 
taneity ; for even his spontaneity has its foundation in Nature, 
of which his particular character is only an expression. Be 

* According to old books of travel, however, there are many tribes which, 
do not believe that the future is identical with the present, or that it is 
better, but that it is even worse. Parny (CEuv. chois. T. i. Melang.) tells 
of a dying negro- slave, who refused the inauguration to immortality by 
baptism, in these words : " Je ne veux point d'une autre vie, car peut-etre y 
serais-je encore votre esclave." 

f Ahlwardt (Ossian Aum. zu Carthonn.). 


thankful to Nature! Man cannot be separated from it. The 
German, whose God is spontaneity, owes his character to 
Nature just as much as the oriental. To find fault with 
Indian art, with Indian religion and philosophy, is to find 
fault with Indian Nature. You complain of the reviewer who 
tears a passage in your works from the context that he may 
hand it over to ridicule. Why are you yourself guilty of that 
which you blame in others ? Why do you tear the Indian 
religion from its connexion, in which it is just as reasonable 
as your absolute religion ? 

Faith in a future world, in a life after death, is therefore with 
" savage" tribes essentially nothing more than direct faith 
in the present life immediate unbroken faith in this life. 
For them, their actual life, even with its local limitations, has 
all, has absolute value ; they cannot abstract from it, they 
cannot conceive its being broken off; i.e., they believe directly 
in the infinitude, the perpetuity of this life. Only when the 
belief in immortality becomes a critical belief, when a distinc 
tion is made between what is to be left behind here, and what 
is in reserve there, between what here passes away, and what 
there is to abide, does the belief in life after death form itself 
into the belief in another life ; but this criticism, this distinction, 
is applied to the present life also. Thus the Christians dis 
tinguish between the natural and the Christian life, the sensual 
or worldly and the spiritual or holy life. The heavenly life 
is no other than that which is, already here below, distinguished 
from the merely natural life, though still tainted with it. That 
which the Christian excludes from himself now for example, 
the sexual life is excluded from the future : the only distinc 
tion is, that he is there free from that which he here wishes to 
be free from, and seeks to rid himself of by the will, by devo 
tion, and by bodily mortification. Hence this life is, for the 
Christian, a life of torment and pain, because he is here still 
beset by a hostile power, and has to struggle with the lusts of 
the flesh and the assaults of the devil. 

The faith of cultured nations is therefore distinguished 
from that of the uncultured in the same way that culture in 
general is distinguished from inculture : namely, that the 
faith of culture is a discriminating, critical, abstract faith. A 
distinction implies a judgment ; but where there is a judgment 
there arises the distinction between positive and negative. The 
faith of savage tribes is a faith without a judgment. Culture, 


on the contrary, judges: to the cultured man only cultured 
life is the true life ; to the Christian only the Christian life. 
The rude child of Nature steps into the other life just as he is, 
without ceremony : the other world is his natural nakedness. 
The cultivated man, on the contrary, objects to the idea of 
such an unbridled life after death, because 'even here he objects 
to the unrestricted life of nature. Faith in a future life is 
therefore only faith in the true life of the present; the 
essential elements of this life are also the essential elements of 
the other: accordingly, faith in a future life is not faith in 
another unknown life; but in the truth and infinitude, and 
consequently in the perpetuity, of that life which already here 
below is regarded as the authentic life. 

As God is nothing else than the nature of man purified from 
that which to the human individual appears, whether in feeling 
or thought, a limitation, an evil ; so the future life is nothing 
else than the present life, freed from that which appears a limit 
ation or an evil. The more definitely and profoundly the indi 
vidual is conscious of the limit as a limit, of the evil as an evil, 
the more definite and profound is his conviction of the future life, 
where these limits disappear. The future life is the feeling, 
the conception of freedom from those limits which here circum 
scribe the feeling of self, the existence of the individual. The only 
difference between the course of religion and that of the natural 
or rational' man is, that the end which the latter arrives at by 
a straight line, the former only attains by describing a curved 
line a circle. The natural man remains at home because he 
finds it agreeable, because he is perfectly satisfied ; religion 
which commences with a discontent, a disunion, forsakes its home 
and travels far, but only to feel the more vividly in the distance 
the happiness of home. In religion man separates himself 
from himself, but only to return always to the same point from 
which he set out. Man negatives himself, but only to posit 
himself again, and that in a glorified form : he negatives this life, 
but only, in the end, to posit it again in the future life.* The 

* There everything will be restored. " Qui modo vivit, erit, nee me vel 
dente, vel ungue fraudatum revomet patefacti fossa sepiilchri." Aurelius 
Prud. (Apotheos. de Eesurr. Carnis hum.). And this faith, which you consi 
der rude and carnal, and which you therefore disavow, is the only consistent, 
honest, and true faith. To the identity of the person belongs the identity of 
the body. 


future life is this life once lost, but found again, and radiant 
with all the more brightness for the joy of recovery. The 
religious man renounces the joys of this world, but only that 
he may win in return the joys of heaven; or rather he re 
nounces them because he is already in the ideal possession of 
heavenly joys ; and the joys of heaven are the same as those 
of earth, only that they are freed from the limits and con 
trarieties of this life. Religion thus arrives, though by a circuit, 
at the very goal, the goal of joy, towards which the natural 
man hastens in a direct line. To live in images or symbols, is 
the essence of religion. Religion sacrifices the thing itself to 
the image. The future life is the present in the mirror of the 
imagination : the enrapturing image is in the sense of religion 
the true type of earthly life, real life only a glimmer of that 
ideal, imaginary life. The future life is the present embel 
lished, contemplated through the imagination, purified from all 
gross matter; or, positively expressed, it is the beauteous present 

Embellishment, emendation, presupposes blame, dissatisfac 
tion. But the dissatisfaction is only superficial. I do not 
deny the thing to be of value ; just as it is, however, it does not 
please me ; I deny only the modification, not the substance, 
otherwise I should urge annihilation. A house which abso 
lutely displeases me I cause to be pulled down, not to be 
embellished. To the believer in a future life joy is agreeable 
who can fail to be conscious that joy is something positive? 
but it is disagreeable to him, that here joy is followed by 
opposite sensations, that it is transitory. Hence he places joy 
in the future life also, but as eternal, uninterrupted, divine joy, 
(and the future life is therefore called the world of joy,) such as 
he here conceives it in God ; for God is nothing but eternal, 
uninterrupted joy, posited as a subject. Individuality or per 
sonality is agreeable to him, but only as unencumbered by 
objective forces ; hence, he includes individuality also, but pure, 
absolutely subjective individuality. Light pleases him; but 
not gravitation, because this appears a limitation of the indi 
vidual; not night, because in it man is subjected to Nature: 
in the other world, there is light, but no weight, no night, 
pure, unobstructed light.* 

* " Neque enim post resurrectionem tempus diebus ac noctibus numera- 
bitur. Erit magis una dies sine vespere." Job. Damascen. (Orth. Fidei 
1. ii. c. 1). 


As man in his utmost remoteness from himself, in God, 
always returns upon himself, always revolves round himself; 
so in his utmost remoteness from the world, he always at last 
comes back to it. The more extra-and suprahuman God ap 
pears at the commeo cement, the more human does he show 
himself to be in the subsequent course of things, or at the 
close : and just so, the more supernatural the heavenly life 
looks in the beginning or at a distance, the more clearly does 
it, in the end or when viewed closely, exhibit its identity with 
the natural life, an identity which at last extends even to the 
flesh, even to the body. In the first instance the mind is 
occupied with the separation of the soul from the body, as in 
the conception of God the mind is first occupied with the 
separation of the essence from the individual; the individual 
dies a spiritual death, the dead body which remains behind is 
the human individual ; the soul which has departed from it is 
God. But the separation of the soul from the body, of the 
essence from the individual, of God from man, must be abolished 
again. Every separation of beings essentially allied is pain 
ful. The soul yearns after its lost half, after its body ; as God, 
the departed soul, yearns after the real man. As, therefore, 
God becomes a man again, so the soul returns to its body, and 
the perfect identity of this world and the other is now restored. 
It is true that this new body is a bright, glorified, miraculous 
body, but and this is the main point it is another and yet 
the same body,* as God is another being than man, and yet the 
same. Here we come again to the idea of miracle, which unites 
contradictories. The supernatural body is a body constructed 
by the imagination, for which very reason it is adequate to the 
feelings of man ; an unburdensome, purely subjective body. 
Faith in the future life is nothing else than faith in the truth 
of the imagination, as faith in God is faith in the truth and 
infinity of human feeling. Or : as faith in God is only faith 
in the abstract nature of man, so faith in the heavenly life is 
only faith in the abstract earthly life. 

But the sum of the future life is happiness, the everlasting 
bliss of personality, which is here limited and circumscribed by 
Nature. Faith in the future life is therefore faith in the free 
dom of subjectivity from the limits of Nature; it is faith in 

* "Ipsum (corpus) erit et non ipsum erit." Augustinus (v. J. Ch. Doe- 
derlein. Inst. Theol. Christ. Altorf. 1781, 280). 


the eternity and infinitude of personality, and not of person 
ality viewed in relation to the idea of the species, in which it for 
ever unfolds itself in new individuals, but of personality as be 
longing to already existing individuals : consequently, it is the 
faith of man in himself. But faith in the kingdom of heaven 
is one with faith in God the content of both ideas is the 
same; God is pure absolute subjectivity released from all na 
tural limits ; he is what individuals ought to be and will be : 
faith in God is therefore the faith of man in the infinitude and 
truth of his own nature ; the divine being is the subjective 
human being in his absolute freedom and unlimitedness. 

Our most essential task is now fulfilled. We have reduced 
the supermundane, supernatural, and superhuman nature of God 
to the elements of human nature as its fundamental elements. 
Our process of analysis has brought us again to the position 
with which we set out. The beginning, middle and end of 
Eeligion is MAN. 






THE essential stand-point of religion is the practical or sub 
jective. The end of religion is the welfare, the salvation, the 
ultimate felicity of man ; the relation of man to God is nothing 
else than his relation to his own spiritual good ; God is the 
realized salvation of the soul, or the unlimited power of 
effecting the salvation, the bliss of man.* The Christian 
religion is especially distinguished from other religions in 
this, that no other has given equal prominence to the 
salvation of man. But this salvation is not temporal, earthly 
prosperity and well-being. On the contrary, the most genuine 
Christians have declared that earthly good draws man away 
from God, whereas adversity, suffering, afflictions lead him 
back to God, and hence are alone suited to Christians. Why? 
because in trouble man is only practically or subjectively 
disposed; in trouble he has recourse only to the one thing 
needful; in trouble God is felt to be a want of man. 
Pleasure, joy, expands man; trouble, suffering, contracts and 
concentrates him ; in suffering man denies the reality of the 
world ; the things that charm the imagination of the artist and 
the intellect of the thinker lose their attraction for him, their 
power over him; he is absorbed in himself, in his own soul. 

* "Prseter salutem tuam nihil cogites; solum qua? Dei sunt cures." 
Thomas a K. (de Imit. 1. i. c. 23). "Contra salutem proprium cogites nihil. 
Minus dixi : contra, praeter dixisse debueram." Bernhardus (de Consid. ad 
Eugenium pontif. max. 1. ii.). "Qui Deum quserit, de propria salute sollici- 
tus est." Clemens Alex. (Cohort, ad Gent.). 


The soul thus self-absorbed, self-concentrated, seeking satis 
faction in itself alone, denying the world, idealistic in relation 
to the world, to Nature in general, but realistic in relation to 
man, caring only for its inherent need of salvation, this soul 
is God. God, as the object of religion; and only as such is 
he God, God in the sense of a nomen proprium, not of a 
vague, metaphysical entity, is essentially an object only of 
religion, not of philosophy, of feeling, not of the intellect, of 
the heart's necessity, not of the mind's freedom : in short, an 
object which is the reflex not of the theoretical but of the 
practical tendency in man. 

Keligion annexes to its doctrines a curse and a blessing, 
damnation and salvation. Blessed is he that believeth, cursed 
is he that believeth not. Thus it appeals not to reason, but 
to feeling, to the desire of happiness, to the passions of hope 
and fear. It does not take the theoretic point of view ; other 
wise it must have been free to enunciate its doctrines without 
attaching to them practical consequences, without to a certain 
extent compelling belief in them; for when the case stands 
thus : I am lost if I do not believe, the conscience is under a 
subtle kind of constraint ; the fear of hell urges me to believe. 
Even supposing my belief to be in its origin free, fear inevitably 
intermingles itself; my conscience is always under constraint; 
doubt, the principle of theoretic freedom, appears to me a 
crime. And as in religion the highest idea, the highest 
existence is God, so the highest crime is doubt in God, or the 
doubt that God exists. But that which I do not trust myself 
to doubt, which I cannot doubt without feeling disturbed in 
my soul, without incurring guilt ; that is no matter of theory, 
but a matter of conscience, no Being of the intellect, but of the 

Now as the sole stand-point of religion is the practical or 
subjective stand-point, as therefore to religion the whole, the 
essential man is that part of his nature which is practical, 
which forms resolutions, which acts in accordance with con 
scious aims, whether physical or moral, and which considers 
the world not in itself, but only in relation to those aims or 
wants : the consequence is that everything which lies behind 
the practical consciousness, but which is the essential object of 
theory theory in its most original and general sense, namely, 
that of objective contemplation and experience, of the intel- 


lect, of science* is regarded by religion as lying outside 
man and Nature, in a special, personal being. All good, but 
especially such as takes possession of man apart from his 
volition, such as does not correspond with any resolution or 
purpose, such as transcends the limits of the practical con 
sciousness, comes from God ; all wickedness, evil, but especially 
such as overtakes him against his will in the midst of his best 
moral resolutions, or hurries him along with terrible violence, 
comes from the devil. The scientific knowledge of the essence 
of religion includes the knowledge of the devil, of Satan, of 
demons. f These things cannot be omitted without a violent 
mutilation of religion. Grace and its works are the antitheses 
of the devil and his works. As the involuntary, sensual 
impulses which flash out from the depths of the nature, and, 
in general, all those phenomena of moral and physical evil 
which are inexplicable to religion, appear to it as the work of 
the Evil Being ; so the involuntary movements of inspiration 
and ecstasy appear to it as the work of the Good Being, God, 
of the Holy Spirit or of Grace. Hence the arbitrariness of 
grace the complaint of the pious that grace at one time 
visits and blesses them, at another forsakes and rejects them. 
The life, the agency of grace, is the life, the agency of emotion. 
Emotion is the Paraclete of Christians. The moments which 
are forsaken by divine grace, are the moments destitute of 
emotion and inspiration. 

In relation to the inner life, Grace may be defined as 
religious -genius ; in relation to the outer life as religious 
chance. Man is good or wicked by no means through him 
self, his own power, his will ; but through that complete 
synthesis of hidden and evident determinations of things 
which, because they rest on no evident necessity, we ascribe 
to the power of " chance." Divine grace is the power of 
chance beclouded with additional mystery. Here we have 

* Here and in other parts of this work, theory is taken in the sense in 
which it is the source of true objective activity, the science which gives 
birth to art, for man can do only so much as he knows : " tantum potest 
quantum scit." 

f Concerning the biblical conceptions of Satan, his power and works, see 
Liitzelherger's "Grundziige der Paulinischen Glaubenslehre," and G. Ch. 
Knapp's "Tories, iiber d. Christl. Glaubensl." 6265. To this subject 
belongs demoniacal possession, which also has its attestation in the Bible. 
See Knapp ( 65. iii. 2, 3). 


again the confirmation of that which we have seen to be tfie 
essential law of religion. Religion denies, repudiates chance, 
making everything dependent on God, explaining everything 
by means of him ; but this denial is only apparent ; it merely 
gives chance the name of the divine sovereignty. For the divine 
will which, on incomprehensible grounds, for incomprehensible 
reasons, that is, speaking plainly, out of groundless, absolute 
arbitrariness, out of divine caprice, as it were, determines or 
predestines some to evil and misery, others to good and 
happiness, has not a single positive characteristic to dis 
tinguish it from the power of chance. The mystery of the 
election of grace is thus the mystery of chance. I say the 
mystery of chance ; for in reality chance is a mystery, although 
slurred over and ignored by our speculative religious philosophy, 
which, as in its occupation with the illusory mysteries of the 
Absolute Being, i.e., of theology, it has overlooked the true 
mysteries of thought and life, so also in the mystery of divine 
grace or freedom of election, has forgotten the profane mystery 
of chance.* 

But to return. The devil is the negative, the evil, that 
springs from the nature, but not from the will ; God is the 
positive, the good, which comes from the nature, but not from 
the conscious action of the will; the devil is involuntary, 
inexplicable wickedness ; God involuntary, inexplicable good 
ness. The source of both is the same, the quality only is 
different or opposite. For this reason, the belief in a devil 
was, until the most recent times, intimately connected with 
the belief in God, so that the denial of the devil was held to 
be virtually as atheistic as the denial of God. Nor without 
reason ; for when men once begin to derive the phenomena of 
evil from natural causes, they at the same time begin to 
derive the phenomena of good, of the divine, from the nature 
of things, and come at length either to abolish the idea of 
God altogether, or at least to believe in another God than the 
God of religion. In this case it most commonly happens 
that they make the Deity an idle inactive being, whose existence 
is equivalent to non-existence, since he no longer actively 

* Doubtless, this unveiling of the mystery of predestination will be 
pronounced atrocious, impious, diabolical. I have nothing to allege against 
this ; I would rather be a devil in alliance with truth, than an angel in 
alliance with falsehood. 


interposes in life, but is merely placed at the summit of things, 
at the beginning of the world, as the First Cause. God 
created the world : this is all that is here retained of God. 
The past tense is necessary ; for since that epoch the world 
pursues its course like a machine. The addition : He still 
creates, he is creating at this moment, is only the result of 
external reflection; the past tense adequately expresses the 
religious idea in this stage ; for the spirit of religion is gone 
when the operation of God is reduced to a fecit or creavit. 
It is otherwise when the genuine religious consciousness 
says: The fecit is still to-day a facit. This, though here 
also it is a product of reflection, has nevertheless a legitimate 
meaning, because by the religious spirit God is really thought 
of as active. 

Religion is abolished where the idea of the world, of 
so-called second causes, intrudes itself between God and 
man. Here a foreign element, the principle of intellectual 
culture, has insinuated itself, peace is broken, the harmony of 
religion, which lies only in the immediate connexion of man 
with God, is destroyed. Second causes are a capitulation 
of the unbelieving intellect with the still believing heart. 
It is true that, according to religion also, God works on man 
by means of other things and beings. But God alone is the 
cause, he alone is the active and efficient being. What a 
fellow- creature does, is in the view of religion done not by 
him, but by God. The other is only an appearance, a medium, 
a vehicle, not a cause. But the " second cause" is a miserable 
anomaly, neither an independent nor a dependent being : God, 
it is true, gives the first impulse, but then ensues the spon 
taneous activity of the second cause.* 

Religion of itself, unadulterated by foreign elements, knows 
nothing of the existence of second causes; on the contrary, 
they are a stone of stumbling to it ; for the realm of second 
causes, the sensible world, Nature, is precisely what separates 
man from God, although God as a real God, i.e., an external 

* A kindred doctrine is that of the Concursus Dei, according to which, 
God not only gives the first impulse, but also co-operates in the agency of 
the second cause. For the rest, this doctrine is only a particular form of 
the contradictory dualism between God and Nature, which runs through 
the history of Christianity. On the subject of this remark, as of the whole 
paragraph, see Strauss : Die Ckristliche Glaubenslehre, B. ii. 75, 76. 


being, is supposed himself to become in the other world a 
sensible existence.* Hence religion believes that one day this 
wall of separation will fall away. One day there will be no 
Nature, no matter, no body, at least none such as to separate 
man from God : then there will be only God and the pious 
soul. Religion derives the idea of the existence of second 
causes, that is, of things which are interposed between God 
and man, only from the physical, natural, and hence the 
irreligious or at least non-religious theory of the universe : a 
theory which it nevertheless immediately subverts by making 
the operations of Nature operations of God. But this religious 
idea is in contradiction with the natural sense and under 
standing, which concedes a real, spontaneous activity to natural 
things. And this contradiction of the physical view with the 
religious theory, religion resolves by converting the undeniable 
activity of things into an activity of God. Thus, on this 
view, the positive idea is God ; the negative, the world. 

On the contrary, where second causes, having been set in 
motion, are, so to speak, emancipated, the converse occurs ; 
Nature is the positive, God a negative idea. The world is 
independent in its existence, its persistence ; only as to its 
commencement is it dependent. God is here only a hypo 
thetical Being, an inference, arising from the necessity of 
a limited understanding, to which the existence of a world 
viewed by it as a machine, is inexplicable without a self- 
moving principle; he is no longer an original, absolutely 
necessary Being. God exists not for his own sake, but for the 

* " Dum sumus in hoc corpore, peregrinamur ab eo qui summe est." 
Bernard. Epist. 18. (Ed. Basle, 1552). "As long as we live, we are in the 
midst of death." Luther (T. i. p. 331). The idea of the future life is 
therefore nothing else than the idea of true, perfected religion, freed from 
the limits and obstructions of this life, the future life, as has been already 
said, nothing but the true opinion and disposition, the open heart, of reli 
gion. Here we believe; there we behold; i.e., there there is nothing 
besides God, and thus nothing between God and the soul ; but only for 
this reason, that there ought to be nothing between them, because the 
immediate union of God and the soul is the true opinion and desire of 
religion. " We have as yet so to do with God as with one hidden 
from us, and it is not possible that in this life we should hold communion 
with him face to face. All creatures are now nothing else than vain masks, 
under which God conceals himself, and by which he deals with us." 
Luther (T. xi. p. 70). " If thou wert only free from the images of created 
things, thou mightest have God without intermission." Tauler (1. c. p. 313). 


sake of the world, merely that he may, as a First Cause, 
explain the existence of the world. The narrow rationalizing 
man takes objection to the original self-subsistence of the 
world, because he looks at it only from the subjective, practical 
point of view, only in its commoner aspect, only as a piece of 
mechanism, not in its majesty and glory, not as the Cosmos. 
He conceives the world as having been launched into existence 
by an original impetus, as, according to mathematical theory, 
is the case with matter once set in motion and thenceforth 
going on for ever : that is, he postulates a mechanical origin 
A machine must have a beginning ; this is involved in its 
very idea ; for it has not the source of motion in itself. 

All religious speculative cosmogony is tautology, as is 
apparent from this example. In cosmogony man declares or 
realizes the idea he has of the world ; he merely repeats what 
he has already said in another form. Thus here ; if the 
world is a machine, it is self-evident that it did not make 
itself, that on the contrary it was created, i. e., had a me 
chanical origin. Herein, it is true, the religious consciousness 
agrees with the mechanical theory, that to it also the world is 
a mere fabric, a product of Will. But they agree only for an 
instant, only in the moment of creation ; that moment past, 
the harmony ceases. The holder of the mechanical theory 
needs God only as the creator of the world; once made, the 
world turns its back on the creator, and rejoices in its godless 
self-subsistence. But religion creates the world only to 
maintain it in the perpetual consciousness of its nothingness, 
its dependence on God.* To the mechanical theorist, the 
creation is the last thin thread which yet ties him to religion ; 
the religion to which the nothingness of the world is a 
present truth, (for all power and activity is to it the power and 
activity of God,) is with him only a surviving reminiscence of 
youth ; hence he removes the creation of the world, the act of 
religion, the non-existence of the world, (for in the beginning, 
before the creation, there was no world, only God,) into the 

* "Voluntate igitur Dei immobilis manet et stat inseculum terra .... 
et voluntate Dei movetur et nutat. Non ergo fundamentis suis nixa sub- 
sistit, nee fulcris suis stabilis perseverat, sed Dominus statuit earn et firrna- 
mento voluntatis suse continet, quia in mami ejus omnes fines terra?." 
Ambrosius (HexaBmeron. 1. i. c. 61). 


far distance, into the past, while the self-subsistence of the 
world, which absorbs all his senses and endeavours, acts on 
him with the force of the present. The mechanical theorist 
interrupts and cuts short the activity of God by the activity of 
the world. With him God has indeed still an historical right, 
but this is in contradiction with the right he awards to Nature; 
hence he limits as much as possible the right yet remaining 
to God, in order to gain wider and freer play for his natural 
causes, and thereby for his understanding. 

With this class of thinkers the creation holds the same 
position as miracles, which also they can and actually do 
acquiesce in, because miracles exist, at least according to 
religious opinion. But not to say that he explains miracles 
naturally, that is, mechanically, he can only digest them when 
he relegates them to the past ; for the present he begs to be 
excused from believing in them, and explains everything to 
himself charmingly on natural principles. When a belief has 
departed from the reason, the intelligence, when it is no 
longer held spontaneously, but merely because it is a common 
belief, or because on some ground or other it must be held ; 
in short, when a belief is inwardly a past one ; then externally 
also the object of the belief is referred to the past. Unbelief 
thus gets breathing space, but at the same time concedes to 
belief at least an historical validity. The past is here the 
fortunate means of compromise between belief and unbelief: 
I certainly believe in miracles, but, nota bene, in no miracles 
which happen now only in those which once happened, which, 
thank God ! are already plus quam perfecta. So also with 
the creation. The creation is an immediate act of God, a 
miracle, for there was once nothing but God. In the idea 
of the creation man transcends the world, he rises into 
abstraction from it ; he conceives it as non-existent in the 
moment of creation ; thus he dispels from his sight what 
stands between himself and God, the sensible world ; he places 
himself in immediate contact with God. But the mechanical 
thinker shrinks from this immediate contact with God ; hence 
he at once makes the prcesens, if indeed he soars so high, into 
a perfectum ; he interposes millenniums between his natural or 
materialistic view and the thought of an immediate operation 
of God. 

To the religious spirit, on the contrary, God alone is the 


cause of all positive effects, God alone the ultimate and also 
the sole ground wherewith it answers, or rather repels all 
questions which theory puts forward; for the affirmative of 
religion is virtually a negative ; its answer amounts to nothing, 
since it solves the most various questions always with the 
same answer, making all the operations of Nature immediate 
operations of God, of a designing, personal, extranatural or 
supranatural Being. God is the idea which supplies the lack 
of theory. The idea of God is the explanation of the in 
explicable, which explains nothing because it is supposed to 
explain everything without distinction ; he is the night of 
theory, a night however in which everything is clear to religious 
feeling, because in it the measure of darkness, the discriminating 
light of the understanding, is extinct; he is the ignorance 
which solves all doubt by repressing it, which knows every 
thing because it knows nothing definite, because all things 
which impress the intellect disappear before religion, lose their 
individuality, in the eyes of divine power are nothing. Dark 
ness is the mother of religion. 

The essential act of religion, that in which religion puts 
into action what we have designated as its essence, is prayer. 
Prayer is all-powerful. What the pious soul entreats for in 
prayer, God fulfils. But he prays not for spiritual gifts* alone, 
which lie in some sort in the power of man ; he prays also for 
things which lie out of him, which are in the power of Nature, 
a power which it is the very object of prayer to overcome ; 
in prayer he lays hold on a supernatural means, in order to 
attain ends in themselves natural. God is to him not the 
causa remota but the causa proximo,, the immediate, efficient 
cause of all natural effects. All so-called secondary forces and 
second causes are nothing to him when he prays; if they 
were anything to him, the might, the fervour of prayer would 
be annihilated. But in fact they have no existence for him ; 
otherwise he would assuredly seek to attain his end only 
by some intermediate process. But he desires immediate 
help. He has recourse to prayer in the certainty that he can 
do more, infinitely more, by prayer, than by all the efforts of 
reason and all the agencies of nature, in the conviction that 

* It is only unbelief in the efficacy of prayer which has subtly limited 
prayer to spiritual matters. 


prayer possesses superhuman and supernatural powers.* But 
in prayer he applies immediately to God. Thus G-od is to him 
the immediate cause, the fulfilment of prayer, the power which 
realizes prayer. But an immediate act of God is a miracle ; 
hence miracle is essential to the religious view. Keligion 
explains everything miraculously. That miracles do not always 
happen, is indeed obvious, as that man does not always pray. 
But the consideration that miracles do not always happen, lies 
outside the nature of religion, in the empirical or physical 
mode of view only. Where religion begins, there also begins 
miracle. Every true prayer is a miracle, an act of the wonder 
working power. External miracles themselves only make 
visible internal miracles, that is, they are only a manifestation 
in time and space, and therefore as a special fact, of what in 
and by itself is a fundamental position of religion, namely, 
that God is, in general, the supernatural, immediate cause of 
all things. The miracle of fact is only an impassioned ex 
pression of religion, a moment of inspiration. Miracles 
happen only in extraordinary crises, in which there is an 
exaltation of the feelings : hence there are miracles of anger. 
No miracle is wrought in cold blood. But it is precisely in 
moments of passion that the latent nature reveals itself. 
Man does not always pray with equal warmth and power. 
Such prayers are therefore ineffective. Only ardent prayer 
reveals the nature of prayer. Man truly prays when he regards 
prayer as in itself a sacred power, a divine force. So it is 
with miracles. Miracles happen no matter whether few or 
many wherever there is, as a basis for them, a belief in the 
miraculous. But the belief in miracle is no theoretic or 
objective mode of viewing the world and Nature; miracle 
realizes practical wants, and that in contradiction with the 
laws which are imperative to the reason ; in miracle man 
subjugates Nature, as in itself a nullity, to his own ends, which 
he regards as a reality ; miracle is the superlative expression 
of spiritual or religious utilitarianism ; in miracle all things 

* According to the notion of barbarians, therefore, prayer is a coercive 
power, a charm. But this conception is an unchristian one (although even 
among many Christians, the idea is accepted that prayer constrains God) ;. 
for in Christianity God is essentially feeling satisfied in itself, Almighty 
goodness, which denies nothing to (religious) feeling. The idea of coercion 
presupposes an unfeeling God. 



are at the service of necessitous man. It is clear from this, 
that the conception of the world which is essential to religion 
is that of the practical or subjective stand-point, that God 
for the miracle-working power is identical with God is a 
purely practical or subjective being, serving however as a 
substitute for a theoretic view, and is thus no object of thought, 
of the knowing faculty, any more than miracle, which owes its 
origin to the negation of thought. If I place myself in the 
point of view of thought, of investigation, of theory, in which 
I consider things in themselves, in their mutual relations, 
the miracle-working being vanishes into nothing, miracle 
disappears ; i. e., the religious miracle, which is absolutely dif 
ferent from the natural miracle, though they are continually 
interchanged, in order to stultify reason, and, under the ap 
pearance of natural science, to introduce religious miracle into 
the sphere of rationality and reality. 

But for this very reason namely, that religion is removed 
from the stand -point, from the nature of theory the true, 
universal essence of Nature and humanity, which as such is 
hidden from religion and is only visible to the theoretic eye, 
is conceived as another, a miraculous and supernatural essence; 
the idea of the species becomes the idea of God, who again 
is himself an individual being, but is distinguished from human 
individuals in this, that he possesses their qualities according 
to the measure of the species. Hence, in religion man neces 
sarily places his nature out of himself, regards his nature as a 
separate nature ; necessarily, because the nature which is the 
object of theory lies outside of him, because all his conscious 
existence spends itself in his practical subjectivity. God is 
his alter ego, his other lost half; God is the complement of 
himself; in God he is first a perfect man. God is a need to 
him ; something is wanting to him without his knowing what 
it is God is this something wanting, indispensable to him; 
God belongs to his nature. The world is nothing to religion,* 
the world, which is in truth the sum of all reality, is revealed 
in its glory only by theory. The joys of theory are the sweetest 

* " Natura. enim remota providentia et potestate divina prorsus nihil est." 
Lactantius (Div. Inst. lib. 3, c. 28). "Omniaquse creatasunt, quamvis ea 
Deus fecerit valde bona, Creatori tamen comparata, nee bona sunt, cui com- 
parata nee sunt ; altissime quippe et proprio modo quodam de se ipso dixit : 
Ego sum, qui sum." Augustinus (de Perfectione just. Horn. c. 14). 


intellectual pleasures of life; but religion knows nothing of 
the joys of the thinker, of the investigator of Nature, of the 
artist. The idea of the universe is wanting to it, the con 
sciousness of the really infinite, the consciousness of the 
species. God only is its compensation for the poverty of life, 
for the want of a substantial import, which the true life of 
rational contemplation presents in unending fulness. God is 
to religion the substitute for the lost world, God is to it in 
the stead of pure contemplation, the life of theory. 

That which we have designated as the practical or subjective 
view is not pure, it is tainted with egoism, for therein I have 
relation to a thing only for my own sake ; neither is it self- 
sufficing, for it places me in relation to an object above 
my own level. On the contrary, the theoretic view is joyful, 
self- sufficing, happy; for here the object calls forth love and 
admiration ; in the light of the free intelligence it is radiant 
as a diamond, transparent as a rock-crystal. The theoretic 
view is aesthetic, whereas the practical is unaesthetic. Reli 
gion therefore finds in God a compensation for the want 
of an aesthetic view. To the religious spirit the world is 
nothing in itself ; the admiration, the contemplation of it is 
idolatry ; for the world is a mere piece of mechanism.* 
Hence in religion it is God that serves as the object of 
pure, untainted, i. e., theoretic or esthetic contemplation. 
God is the existence to which the religious man has an ob 
jective relation ; in God the object is contemplated by him for 
its own sake. God is an end in himself; therefore in religion 
he has the significance which in the theoretic view belongs to 
the object in general. The general being of theory is to 
religion a special being. It is true that in religion man, in 
his relation to God, has relation to his own wants as well in a 
higher as in the lower sense : " Give us this day our daily 
bread ;" but God can satisfy all wants of man only because he 
in himself has no wants, because he is perfect blessedness. 

* "Pulchras formas et varias, nitidos et amcenos colores amant oculi. Xon 
teneant hsec animam meam; teneat eamDeus qui haec fecit, bona quidemvalde, 
sed ipse est bonum meum, non haec." Augustin. (Confess. 1. x. c. 34). " Vetiti 
autem sumus (2 Cor. iv. 18.) converti ad ea quse videntur .... Amandus 
igitur solus Deus est : omnis vero iste mundus, i. e. omnia seiisibilia con- 
temnenda, utendum autem his ad hujus vita? necessitatem." Ib. (de Moribus 
Eccl. Cathol. 1. i. c. 20). 

K 2 



RELIGION is the relation of man to his own nature, therein 
lies its truth and its power of moral amelioration ; but to his 
nature not recognised as his own, hut regarded as another 
nature, separate, nay, contradistinguished from his own : herein 
lies its untruth, its limitation, its contradiction to reason and 
morality ; herein lies the noxious source of religious fanati 
cism, the chief metaphysical principle of human sacrifices, in 
a word, the prima materia of all the atrocities, all the horrible 
scenes, in the tragedy of religious history. 

The contemplation of the human nature as another, a se 
parately existent nature, is, however, in the original conception 
of religion an involuntary, childlike, simple act of the mind, 
that is, one which separates God and man just as immediately 
as it again identifies them. But when religion advances in 
years, and, with years, in understanding ; when, within the 
bosom of religion, reflection on religion is awakened, and the 
consciousness of the identity of the divine being with the 
human begins to dawn, in A word, when religion becomes 
theology, the originally involuntary and harmless separation of 
God from man, becomes an intentional, excogitated separation, 
which has no other object than to banish again from the con 
sciousness this identity which has already entered there. 

Hence the nearer religion stands to its origin, the truer, the 
more genuine it is, the less is its true nature disguised; that is 
to say, in the origin of religion there is no qualitative or essen 
tial distinction whatever between God and man. And the 
religious man is not shocked at this identification; for his 
understanding is still in harmony with his religion. Thus in 
ancient Judaism, Jehovah was a being differing from the 
human individual in nothing but in duration of existence; 
in his qualities, his inherent nature, he was entirely similar to 
man, had the same passions, the same human, nay, even 
corporeal properties. Only in the later Judaism was Je 
hovah separated in the strictest manner from man, and recourse 


was had to allegory in order to give to the old anthropo 
morphisms another sense than that which they originally had. 
So again in Christianity : in its earliest records the divinity of 
Christ is not so decidedly stamped as it afterwards hecame. 
With Paul especially, Christ is still an undefined being, 
hovering between heaven and earth, between God and man, 
or, in general, one amongst the existences subordinate to the 
highest, the first of the angels, the first created, but still 
created ; begotten indeed for our sake, but then neither are 
angels and men created, but begotten, for God is their Father 
also. The Church first identified him with God, made him 
the exclusive Son of God, defined his distinction from men 
and angels, and thus gave him the monopoly of an eternal, 
uncreated existence. 

In the genesis of ideas, the first mode in which reflexion on 
religion, or theology, makes the divine being a distinct being, 
and places him outside of man, is by making the existence of 
God the object of a formal proof. 

The proofs of the existence of God have been pronounced 
contradictory to the essential nature of religion. They are so ; 
but only in their form as proofs. Religion immediately repre 
sents the inner nature of man as an objective, external being. 
And the proof aims at nothing more than to prove that religion 
is right. The most perfect being is that than which no higher 
can be conceived : God is the highest that man conceives or 
can conceive. This premiss of the ontological proof the 
most interesting proof, because it proceeds from within ex 
presses the inmost nature of religion. That which is the 
highest for man, from which he can make no further ab 
straction, which is the positive limit of his intellect, of his 
feeling, of his sentiment, that is to him God id quo nihil 
majus cogitari potest. But this highest being would not be 
the highest if he did not exist; we could then conceive a higher 
being who would be superior to him in the fact of existence ; 
the idea of the highest being directly precludes this fiction. 
Not to exist is a deficiency ; to exist is perfection, happiness, 
bliss. From a being to whom man gives all, offers up all that 
is precious to him, he cannot withhold the bliss of existence. 
The contradiction to the religious spirit in the proof of the 
existence of God lies only in this, that the existence is thought 
of separately, and thence arises the appearance that God is a 
mere conception, a being existing in idea only, an appearance 


however which is immediately dissipated ; for the very result 
of the proof is, that to God belongs an existence distinct from 
an ideal one, an existence apart from man, apart from thought, 
a real self-existence. 

The proof therefore is only thus far discordant with the 
spirit of religion, that it presents as a formal deduction the 
implicit enthyineme or immediate conclusion of religion, ex 
hibits in logical relation, and therefore distinguishes, what 
religion immediately unites; for to religion God is not a 
matter of abstract thought, he is a present truth and reality. 
But that every religion in its idea of God makes a latent, un 
conscious inference, is confessed in its polemic against other 
religions. " Ye heathens," says the Jew or the Christian, 
" were able to conceive nothing higher as your deities because 
ye were sunk in sinful desires. Your God rests on a conclu 
sion, the premisses of which are your sensual impulses, your 
passions. You thought thus: the most excellent life is, to 
live out one's impulses without restraint ; and because this life 
was the most excellent, the truest, you made it your God. 
Your God was your carnal nature, your heaven only a free 
theatre for the passions which, in society and in the conditions 
of actual life generally, had to suffer restraint." But, naturally, 
in relation to itself no religion is conscious of such an infer 
ence, for the highest of which it is capable is its limit, has the 
force of necessity, is not a thought, not a conception, but 
immediate reality. 

The proofs of the existence of God have for their aim to 
make the internal external, to separate it from man.* His 
existence being proved, God is no longer a merely relative, 
but a noumenal being (Ding an sicli) : he is not only a 
being for us, a being in our faith, our feeling, our nature, he 
is a being in himself, a being external to us, in a word, not 
merely a belief, a feeling, a thought, but also a real existence 
apart from belief, feeling, and thought. But such an existence 
is no other than a sensational existence; i.e., an existence con 
ceived according to the forms of our senses. 

* At the same time, however, their result is, to prove the nature of man. 
The various proofs of the existence of God are nothing else than various 
highly interesting forms in which the human nature affirms itself. Thus, 
for example, the plrysico-theological proof (or proof from design) is the self- 
affirmation of the calculated activity of the understanding. Every philo 
sophic system is, in this sense, a proof of the existence of God. 


The idea of sensational existence is indeed already involved in 
the characteristic expression "external to us." It is true that a 
sophistical theology refuses to interpret the word " external" in 
its proper, natural sense, and substitutes the indefinite expres 
sion of independent, separate existence. But if the externality 
is only figurative, the existence also is figurative. And yet 
we are here only concerned with existence in the proper sense, 
and external existence is nlone the definite, real, unshrinking 
expression for separate existence. 

Real, sensational existence is that which is not dependent on 
my own mental spontaneity or activity, but by which I am 
involuntarily affected, which is when I am not, when I do not 
think of it or feel it. The existence of God must therefore be 
in space in general, a qualitative, sensational existence. But 
God is not seen, not heard, not perceived by the senses. He 
does not exist for me, if I do not exist for him ; if I do not believe 
in a God, there is no God for me. If I am not devoutly dis 
posed, if I do not raise myself above the life of the senses, he 
has no place in my consciousness. Thus he exists only in so 
far as he is felt, thought, believed in ; the addition " for me" is 
unnecessary. His existence therefore is a real one, yet at the 
same time not a real one ; a spiritual existence, says the theo 
logian. But spiritual existence is only an existence in thought, 
in feeling, in belief: so that his existence is a medium between 
sensational existence and conceptional existence, a medium full 
of contradiction. Or : he is a sensational existence, to which 
however all the conditions of sensational existence are wanting : 
consequently an existence at once sensational and not sensa 
tional, an existence which contradicts the idea of the sensational, 
or only a vague existence in general, which is fundamentally a 
sensational one, but which, in order that this may not become 
evident, is divested of all the predicates of a real, sensational 
existence. But such an " existence in general" is self-contra 
dictory. To existence belongs full, definite reality. 

A necessary consequence of this contradiction is Atheism. 
The existence of God is essentially an empirical existence, 
without having its distinctive marks ; it is in itself a matter of 
experience, and yet in reality no object of experience. It calls 
upon man to seek it in Reality : it impregnates his mind with 
sensational conceptions and pretensions ; hence, when these are 
not fulfilled when, on the contrary, he finds experience in con- 


tradiction with these conceptions, he is perfectly justified in 
denying that existence. 

Kant is well known to have maintained, in his critique of the 
proofs of the existence of God, that that existence is not sus- 
ceptihle of proof from reason. He did not merit, on this 
account, the blame which was cast on him by Hegel. The 
idea of the existence of God in those proofs is a thoroughly 
empirical one ; but I cannot deduce empirical existence from 
an a priori idea. The only real ground of blame against Kant 
is, that in laying down this position he supposed it to be some 
thing remarkable, whereas it is self-evident. Keason cannot 
constitute itself an object of sense. I cannot, in thinking, at 
the same time represent what I think as a sensible object, 
external to me. The proof of the existence of God transcends 
the limits of the reason; true ; but in the same sense in which 
sight, hearing, smell transcend the limits of the reason. It is 
absurd to reproach reason, that it does not satisfy a demand 
which can only address itself to the senses. Existence, em 
pirical existence, is proved to me by the senses alone; and in 
the question as to the being of God, the existence implied has 
not the significance of inward reality, of truth, but the signi 
ficance of a formal, external existence. Hence there is perfect 
truth in the allegation, that the belief that God is or is not 
has no consequence with respect to inward moral dispositions. 
It is true that the thought there is a God, is inspiring ; but 
here the is means inward reality ; here the existence is a 
movement of inspiration, an act of aspiration. Just in 
proportion as this existence becomes a prosaic, an empirical 
truth, the inspiration is extinguished. 

Eeligion, therefore, in so far as it is founded on the existence 
of God as an empirical truth, is a matter of indifference to the 
inward disposition. As, necessarily, in the religious cultus, 
ceremonies, observances, sacraments, apart from the moral spirit 
or disposition, become in themselves an important fact : so also, 
at last, belief in the existence of God becomes, apart from the 
inherent quality, the spiritual import of the idea of God, a chief 
point in religion. If thou only believest in God believest that 
God is, thou art already saved. Whether under this God thou 
conceivest a really divine being or a monster, a Nero or a Cali 
gula, an image of thy passions, thy revenge, or ambition, it is 
all one, the main point is that thou be not an atheist. The 
history of religion has amply confirmed this consequence which 


we here draw from the idea of the divine existence. If the exist 
ence of God, taken by itself, had not rooted itself as a religious 
truth in minds, there would never have been those infamous, 
senseless, horrible ideas of God which stigmatize the history 
of religion and theology. The existence of God was a common, 
external, and yet at the same time a holy thing : what wonder, 
then, if on this ground the commonest, rudest, most unholy 
conceptions and opinions sprang up ! 

Atheism was supposed, and is even now supposed, to be 
the negation of all moral principle, of all moral foundations 
and bonds : if God is not, all distinction between good and 
bad, virtue and vice, is abolished. Thus the distinction lies 
only in the existence of God ; the reality of virtue lies not in 
itself, but out of it. And assuredly it is not from an attach 
ment to virtue, from a conviction of its intrinsic worth and im 
portance, that the reality of it is thus bound up with the ex 
istence of God. On the contrary, the belief that God is the 
necessary condition of virtue, is the belief in the nothingness of 
virtue in itself. 

It is indeed worthy of remark, that the idea of the empirical 
existence of God has been perfectly developed in modern 
times, in which empiricism and materialism in general 
have arrived at their full blow. It is true that even in the 
original, simple religious mind, God is an empirical existence 
to be found in a place, though above the earth. But here 
this conception has not so naked, so prosaic a significance; 
the imagination identifies again the external God with the 
soul of man. The imagination is, in general, the true place of 
an existence which is absent, not present to the senses, though 
nevertheless sensational in its essence.* Only the imagina 
tion solves the contradiction in an existence which is at once 
sensational and not sensational; only the imagination is the 

* " Christ is ascended on high that is, he not only sits there 

above, but he is also here below. And lie is gone thither to the very end 
that he might be here below, and fill all things, and be in all places, which 
he could not do while on earth, for here he could not be seen by all bodily 
eyes. Therefore he sits above, where every man can see him, and he has to 
do with every man." Luther (T. xiii. p. 643). That is to say : Christ or 
God is an object, an existence, of the imagination; in the imagination he is 
limited to no place, he is present and objective to every one. God exists 
in heaven, but is for that reason omnipresent; for this heaven is the 

K 3 


preservative from atheism. In the imagination, existence has 
sensational effects, existence affirms itself as a power; with the 
essence of sensational existence the imagination associates also 
the phenomena of sensational existence. Where the existence 
of God is a living truth, an object on which the imagination 
exercises itself, there also appearances of God are helieved in.* 
Where, on the contrary, the fire of the religious imagination is 
extinct, where the sensational effects or appearances necessarily 
connected with an essentially sensational existence cease, there 
the existence becomes a dead, self- contradictory existence, which 
falls irrecoverably into the negation of atheism. 

The belief in the existence of God is the belief in a special 
existence, separate from the existence of man and Nature. 
A special existence can only be proved in a special manner. 
This faith is therefore only then a true and living one when 
special effects, immediate appearances of God, miracles, are 
believed in. Where, on the other hand, the belief in God is 
identified with the belief in the world, where the belief in God 
is no longer a special faith, where the general being of the 
world takes possession of the whole man, there also vanishes 
the belief in special effects and appearances of God. Be 
lief in God is wrecked, is stranded on the belief in the world, 
in natural effects as the only true ones. As here the belief in 
miracles is no longer anything more than the belief in his 
torical, past miracles, so the existence of God is also only an 
historical, in itself atheistic conception. 

* " Thou hast not to complain that thou art less experienced than was 

Abraham or Isaac. Thou also hast appearances Thou hast holy 

baptism, the supper of the Lord, the bread and wine, which are figures and 
forms, under and in which the present God speaks to thee, and acts upon 

thee, in thy ears, eyes, and heart He appears to thee in baptism, 

and it is he himself who baptizes thee, and speaks to thee Every 
thing is full of divine appearances and utterances, if he is on thy side."- 
Luther (T. ii. p. 466. See also on this subject, T. xix. p. 407). 



WITH the idea of the existence of God is connected the idea of 
revelation. God's attestation of his existence, the authentic 
testimony that God exists, is revelation. Proofs drawn from 
reason are merely- subj ective ; the objective, the only true proof 
of the existence of God, is his revelation. God speaks to man ; 
revelation is the word of God ; he sends forth a voice which 
thrills the soul, and gives it the joyful certainty that God really 
is. The word is the gospel of life, the criterion of existence 
and non-existence. Belief in revelation is the culminating 
point of religious objectivism. The subjective conviction of 
the existence of God here becomes an indubitable, external, 
historical fact. The existence of God, in itself, considered 
simply as existence, is already an external, empirical existence ; 
still, it is as yet only thought, conceived, and therefore doubt 
ful ; hence the assertion that all proofs produce no satisfactory 
certainty. This conceptional existence converted into a real 
existence, a fact, is revelation. God has revealed himself, has 
demonstrated himself: who then can have any further doubt? 
The certainty of the existence of God is involved for me in the 
certainty of the revelation. A God who only exists without 
revealing himself, who exists for me only through my own 
mental act, such a God is a merely abstract, imaginary, subjec 
tive God ; a God who gives me a knowledge of himself through 
his own act is alone a God who truly exists, who proves him 
self to exist, an objective God. Faith in revelation is the 
immediate certainty of the religious mind, that what it believes, 
wishes, conceives, really is. Religion is a dream, in which our 
own conceptions and emotions appear to us as separate exist 
ences, beings out of ourselves. The religious mind does not 
distinguish between subjective and objective, it has no doubts; 
it has the faculty, not of discerning other things than itself, 
but of seeing its own conceptions out of itself, as distinct beings. 
What is in itself a mere theory, is to the religious mind a prac 
tical belief, a matter of conscience, a fact. A fact is that 


which from being an object of the intellect becomes a matter 
of conscience; a fact is that which one cannot criticise or 
attack without being guilty of a crime ;* a fact is that which 
one must believe nolens volens; a fact is a physical force, not 
an argument, it makes no appeal to the reason. O ye short 
sighted religious philosophers of Germany, who fling at our 
heads the facts of the religious consciousness, to stun our 
reason and make us the slaves of your childish superstition, 
do you not see that facts are just as relative, as various, as 
subjective, as the ideas of the different religions ? Were not 
the Gods of Olympus also facts, self -attesting existences ?f 
Were not the ludicrous miracles of paganism regarded as facts ? 
Were not angels and demons historical persons ? Did they 
not really appear to men ? Did not Balaam's ass really speak? 
Was not the story of Balaam's ass just as much believed even 
by enlightened scholars of the last century, as the Incarnation 
or any other miracle ? A fact, I repeat, is a conception about 
the truth of which there is no doubt, because it is no object of 
theory, but of feeling, which desires that what it wishes, what it 
believes, should be true. A fact is that, the denial of which is 
forbidden, if not by an external law, yet by an internal one. 
A fact is every possibility which passes for a reality, every 
conception which, for the age wherein it is held to be a fact, 
expresses a want, and is for that reason an impassable limit of 
the mind. A fact is every wish that projects itself on reality: 
in short, it is everything that is not doubted simply because it 
is not must not be doubted. 

* The denial of a fact is not a matter of indifference ; it is something 
morally evil, a disowning of what is known to be true. Christianity made 
its articles of faith objective, i. e., undeniable, unassailable facts, thus 
overpowering the reason, and taking the mind prisoner by the force of 
external reality: herein we have the true explanation why and how 
Christianity, Protestant as well as Catholic, enunciated and enforced with 
all solemnity the principle, that heresy the denial of an idea or a fact 
which forms an article of faith is an object of punishment by the tempo 
ral power, *. e., a crime. What in theory is an external fact, becomes in 
practice an external force. In this respect, Christianity is far below Maho- 
medanism, to which the crime of heresy is unknown. 

f " Prsesentiam ssepe divi suam declarant." Cicero (de Nat. D. 1. ii.). 
Cicero's works (de Nat. D. and de Divinatione) are especially interesting, be 
cause the arguments there used for the reality of the objects of pagan faith, 
are virtually the same as those urged in the present day by theologians 
and the adherents of positive religion generally, for the reality of the objects 
of Christian faith. 


The religious mind, according to its nature as hitherto un 
folded, has the immediate certainty that all its involuntary, 
spontaneous affections are impressions from without, manifes 
tations of another being. The religious mind makes itself the 
passive, God the active being. God is activity; but that 
which determines him to activity, which causes his activity 
(originally only omnipotence, potentia) to become real activity, 
is not himself, he needs nothing, but man, the religious sub 
ject. At the same time, however, man is reciprocally deter 
mined by God ; he views himself as passive ; he receives from 
God determinate revelations, determinate proofs of his exist 
ence. Thus in revelation man determines himself as that which 
determines God, i.e., revelation is simply the self-determination 
of man, only that between himself the determined, and himself 
the determining, he interposes an object God, a distinct being. 
God is the medium by which man brings about the reconcili 
ation of himself with his own nature : God is the bond, the 
vinculiim substantiate, between the essential nature the species 
and the individual. 

The belief in revelation exhibits in the clearest manner the 
characteristic illusion of the religious consciousness. The 
general premiss of this belief is : man can of himself know 
nothing of God ; all his knowledge is merely vain, earthly, 
human. But God is a superhuman being ; God is known only 
by himself. Thus we know nothing of God beyond what he 
reveals to us. The knowledge imparted by God is alone divine, 
superhuman, supernatural knowledge. By means of revelation, 
therefore, we know God through himself; for revelation is the 
word of God God declaring himself. Hence, in the belief in 
revelation man makes himself a negation, he goes out of and 
above himself ; he places revelation in opposition to human 
knowledge and opinion ; in it is contained a hidden knowledge, 
the fulness of all supersensuous mysteries ; here reason must 
hold its peace. But nevertheless the divine revelation is deter 
mined by the human nature. God speaks not to brutes or 
angels, but to men ; hence he uses human speech and human 
conceptions. Man is an object to God, before God perceptibly 
imparts himself to man ; he thinks of man ; he determines his 
action in accordance with the nature of man and his needs. 
God is indeed free in will ; he can reveal himself or not ; but 
he is not free as to the understanding ; he cannot reveal to man 
whatever he will, but only what is adapted to man, what is com- 


mensurate with his nature such as it actually is ; he reveals 
what he must reveal, if his revelation is to be a revelation for 
man, and not for some other kind of being. Now what God 
thinks in relation to man is determined by the idea of man it 
has arisen out of reflection on human nature. Go'd puts him 
self in the place of man, and thinks of himself as this other 
being can and should think of him ; he thinks of himself, not 
with his own thinking power, but with man's. In the scheme 
of his revelation God must have reference not to himself, but to 
man's power of comprehension. That which comes from God 
to man, comes to man only from man in God, that is, only 
from the ideal nature of man to the phenomenal man, from the 
species to the individual. Thus, between the divine revelation 
and the so-called human reason or nature, there is no other 
than an illusory distinction ; the contents of the divine reve 
lation are of human origin, for they have proceeded not from 
God as God, but from God as determined by human reason, 
human wants, that is, directly from human reason and human 
wants. And so in revelation man goes out of himself, in 
order, by a circuitous path, to return to himself! Here we have 
a striking confirmation of the position, that the secret of theo 
logy is nothing else than anthropology the knowledge of God 
nothing else than a knowledge of man ! 

Indeed, the religious consciousness itself admits, in relation 
to past times, the essentially human quality of revelation. The 
religious consciousness of a later age is no longer satisfied with 
a Jehovah who is from head to foot a man, and does not shrink 
from becoming visible as such. It recognises that those were 
merely images in which God accommodated himself to the com 
prehension of men in that age, that is, merely human images. 
But it does not apply this mode of interpretation to ideas ac 
cepted as revelation in the present age, because it is yet itself 
steeped in those ideas. Nevertheless, every revelation is simply 
a revelation of the nature of man to existing men. In revela 
tion man's latent nature is disclosed to him, becomes an object 
to him. He is determined, affected by his own nature as by 
another being ; he receives from the hands of God what his 
own unrecognised nature entails upon him as a necessity, under 
certain conditions of time and circumstance. Keason, the mind 
of the species, operates on the subjective, uncultured man only 
under the image of a personal being. Moral laws have force 
for him only as the commandments of a Divine Will, which has 


at once the power to punish and the glance which nothing 
escapes. That which his own nature, his reason, his conscience 
says to him, does not bind him, because the subjective, un 
cultured man sees in conscience, in reason, so far as he 
recognises it as his own, no universal, objective power; hence 
he must separate from himself that which gives him moral laws, 
and place it in opposition to himself, as a distinct personal 

Belief in revelation is a child-like belief, and is only respect 
able so long as it is child-like. But the child is determined 
fiom without. And revelation has for its object to effect by 
God's help, what man cannot attain by himself. Hence, reve 
lation has been called the education of the human race. This 
is correct ; only, revelation must not be regarded as outside the 
nature of man. There is within him an inward necessity which 
impels him to present moral and philosophical doctrines in the 
form of narratives and fables, and an equal necessity to repre 
sent that impulse as a revelation. The mythical poet has an 
end in view that of making men good and wise ; he designedly 
adopts the form of fable as the most appropriate and vivid 
method of representation ; but at the same time, he is himself 
urged to this mode of teaching by his love of fable, by his in 
ward impulse. So it is with a revelation enunciated by an in 
dividual. This individual has an aim ; but at the same time 
he himself lives in the conceptions by means of which he 
realizes this aim. Man, by means of the imagination, involun 
tarily contemplates his inner nature; he represents it as out 
of himself. The nature of man, of the species thus working 
on him through the irresistible power of the imagination, and 
contemplated as the law of his thought and action is God. 

Herein lie the beneficial moral effects of the belief in reve 

But as Nature " unconsciously produces results which look 
as if they were produced consciously," so revelation generates 
moral actions, which do not, however, proceed from morality ; 
moral actions, but no moral dispositions. Moral rules are 
indeed observed, but they are severed from the inward disposi 
tion, the heart, by being represented as the commandments of 
an external law-giver, by being placed in the category of arbi 
trary laws, police regulations. What is done, is done not 
because it is good and right, but because it is commanded by 
God. The inherent quality of the deed is indifferent ; what- 


ever God commands is right.* If these commands are in ac 
cordance with reason, with ethics, it is well ; but so far as the 
idea of revelation is concerned, it is accidental. The ceremo 
nial laws of the Jews were revealed, divine, though in them 
selves adventitious and arbitrary. The Jews received from 
Jehovah the command to steal ; in a special case, it is true. 

But the belief in revelation not only injures the moral sense 
and taste, the esthetics of virtue ; it poisons, nay it destroys, 
the divinest feeling in man the sense of truth, the perception 
and sentiment of truth. The revelation of God is a determinate 
revelation, given at a particular epoch : God revealed himself 
once for all in the year so and so, and that, not to the universal 
man, to the man of all times and places, to the reason, to the 
species, but to certain limited individuals. A revelation in a 
given time and place must be fixed in writing, that its blessings 
may be transmitted uninjured. Hence the belief in revelation 
is, at least for those of a subsequent age, belief in a written 
revelation ; but the necessary consequence of a faith in which 
an historical book, necessarily subject to all the conditions of a 
temporal, finite production, is regarded as an eternal, absolute, 
universally authoritative word, is superstition and sophistry. 

Faith in a written revelation is a real, unfeigned, and so far 
respectable faith, only where it is believed that all in the sacred 
\vritings is significant, true, holy, divine. Where, on the con 
trary, the distinction is made between the human and divine, 
the relatively true and the absolutely true, the historical and 
the permanent, where it is not held that all without distinc 
tion is unconditionally true ; there the verdict of unbelief, 
that the Bible is no divine book, is already introduced into the 
interpretation of the Bible, there, at least indirectly, that is, 
in a crafty, dishonest way, its title to the character of a divine 
revelation is denied. Unity, unconditionality, freedom from 
exceptions, immediate certitude, is alone the character of 
divinity. A book that imposes on me the necessity of discri 
mination, the necessity of criticism, in order to separate the 

* " Quod crudeliter ab hominibus sine Dei jussu fieret aut factum est, id 
debuit ab Hebrais fieri, quia a deo vitse et necis summo arbitrio, jussi bellum 
ita gerebant." J. Clericus (Comm. in Mos. Num. c. 31, 7). " Multa gessit 
Samson, quse vix possent defend!, nisi Dei, a quo homines pendent, instru- 
mentum fuisse censeatur." Ib. (Comm. in Judicum, c. 14, 19). See also 
Luther, e. g. (T. i. p. 339, T. xvi. p. 495). 


divine from the human, the permanent from the temporary, is 
no longer a divine, certain, infallible book, it is degraded to 
the rank of profane books ; for every profane book has the 
same quality, that together with or in the human it contains 
the divine, that is, together with or in the individual it con 
tains the universal and eternal. But that only is a truly divine 
book in which there is not merely something good and some 
thing bad, something permanent and something temporary, but 
in which all comes as it were from one crucible, all is eternal, 
true and good. What sort of a revelation is that in which I 
must first listen to the apostle Paul, then to Peter, then to 
James, then to John, then to Matthew, then to Mark, then 
to Luke, until at last I come to a passage where my soul, 
athirst for God, can cry out : EUREKA ! here speaks the Holy 
Spirit himself! here is something for me, something for all 
times and all men. How true, on the contrary, was the con 
ception of the old faith, when it extended inspiration to the 
very words, to the very letters of Scripture ! The word is not a 
matter of indifference in relation to the thought; a definite 
thought can only be rendered by a definite word. Another 
word, another letter another sense. It is true that such faith 
is superstition ; but this superstition is alone the true, undis 
guised, open faith, which is not ashamed of its consequences. 
If God numbers the hairs on the head of a man, if no sparrow 
falls to the ground without his will, how could he leave to the 
stupidity and caprice of scribes his Word that word on which 
depends the everlasting salvation of man ? Why should he not 
dictate his thoughts to their pen in order to guard them from 
the possibility of disfiguration ? " But if man were a mere 
organ of the Holy Spirit, human freedom would be abolished!"* 
Oh what a pitiable argument ! Is human freedom, then, of 
more value than divine truth ? Or does human freedom con 
sist only in the distortion of divine truth ? 

And just as necessarily as the belief in a determinate histori 
cal revelation is associated with superstition, so necessarily is it 

* It was very justly remarked by the Jansenists against the Jesuits : 
" Vouloir reconnoitre dans 1'Ecriture quelque chose de la foiblesse et de 
1'esprit naturel de 1'homme, c'est donner la liberte a chacun d'eii faire le 
discemement et de rejetter ce qui lui plaira de 1'Ecriture, comme venant 
plutot de la foiblesse de 1'homme que de 1'esprit de Dieu." Bayle (Diet. art. 
Adam (Jean) Eem. E.) 


associated with sophistry. The Bible contradicts morality, 
contradicts reason, contradicts itself, innumerable times; and 
yet it is the word of God, eternal truth, and " truth cannot 
contradict itself."* How does the believer in revelation elude 
this contradiction between the idea in his own mind, of revela 
tion as divine, harmonious truth, and this supposed actual 
revelation? Only by self-deception, only by the silliest subter 
fuges, only by the most miserable, transparent sophisms. 
Christian sophistry is the necessary product of Christian faith, 
especially of faith in the Bible as a divine revelation. 

Truth, absolute truth, is given objectively in the Bible, sub 
jectively in faith; for towards that which God himself speaks I 
can only be believing, resigned, receptive. Nothing is left to 
the understanding, the reason, but a formal, subordinate office ; 
it has a false position, a position essentially contradictory to 
its nature. The understanding in itself is here indifferent to 
truth, indifferent to the distinction between the true and the 
false; it has no criterion in itself; whatever is found in reve 
lation is true, even when it is in direct contradiction with 
reason. The understanding is helplessly given over to the hap 
hazard of the most ignoble empiricism ; whatever I find in 
divine revelation I must believe, and if necessary, my under 
standing must defend it ; the understanding is the watch-dog 
of revelation ; it must let everything without distinction be 
imposed on it as truth, discrimination would be doubt, would 
be a crime : consequently, nothing remains to it but an ad 
ventitious, indifferent, i. e., disingenuous, sophistical, tortuous 
mode of thought, which is occupied only with groundless 
distinctions and subterfuges, with ignominious tricks and 
evasions. But the more man, by the progress of time, becomes 
estranged from revelation, the more the understanding ripens 
into independence, the more glaring, necessarily, appears the 
contradiction between the understanding and belief in revela 
tion. The believer can then prove revelation only by incurring 
contradiction with himself, with truth, with the understanding, 
only by the most impudent assumptions, only by shameless 
falsehoods, only by the sin against the Holy Ghost. 

* "Nee in scriptura divina fas sit sentire aliquid contrarietatis." Petrus 
L. (1. ii. dist. ii. c. i.). Similar thoughts are found in the Fathers. 




THE grand principle, the central point of Christian sophistry, 
is the idea of God. God is the human being, and yet he must 
be regarded as another, a superhuman being. God is universal, 
abstract Being, simply the idea of Being ; and yet he must be 
conceived as a personal, individual being ; or God is a person, 
and yet he must be regarded as God, as universal, i.e., not as 
a personal being. God is ; his existence is certain, more certain 
than ours ; he has an existence distinct from us and from things 
in general, i.e., an individual existence ; and yet his existence 
must be held a spiritual one, i.e., an existence not perceptible 
as a special one. One half of the definition is always in con 
tradiction with the other half: the statement of what must be 
held always annihilates the statement of what is. The funda 
mental idea is a contradiction which can be concealed only by 
sophisms. A God who does not trouble himself about us, who 
does not hear our prayers, who does not see us and love us, is 
no God ; thus humanity is made an essential predicate of 
God ; but at the same time it is said : a God who does not 
exist in and by himself, out of men, above men, as another 
being, is a phantom ; and thus it is made an essential predicate 
of God that he is non-human and extra-human. A. God who 
is not as we are, who has not consciousness, not intelligence, 
i.e., not a personal understanding, a personal consciousness, (as, 
for example, the "substance" of Spinoza,) is no God. Essential 
identity with us is the chief condition of deity; the idea of deity 
is made dependent on the idea of personality, of consciousness, 
quo niliil majus cogitari potest. But, it is said in the same 
breath, a God who is not essentially distinguished from us is 
no God. 

The essence of religion is the immediate, involuntary, un^ 
conscious contemplation of the human nature as another, a 
distinct nature. But when this projected image of human 


nature is made an object of reflection, of theology, it becomes 
an inexhaustible mine of falsehoods, illusions, contradictions, 
and sophisms. 

A peculiarly characteristic artifice and pretext of Christian 
sophistry is the doctrine of the unsearchableness, the in 
comprehensibility of the divine nature. But, as will be shown, 
the secret of this incomprehensibility is nothing further than 
that a known quality is made into an unknown one, a natural 
quality into a supernatural, i.e., an unnatural one, so as to 
produce the appearance, the illusion, that the divine nature 
is different from the human, and is eo ipso an incompre 
hensible one. 

In the original sense of religion, the incomprehensibility of 
God has only the significance of an impassioned expression. 
Thus, when we are affected by a surprising phenomenon, we 
exclaim : It is incredible, it is beyond conception ! though 
afterwards, when we recover our self-possession, we find the 
object of our astonishment nothing less than incomprehensible. 
In the truly religious sense, incomprehensibility is not the 
dead full stop which reflection places wherever understanding 
deserts it, but a pathetic note of exclamation marking the im 
pression which the imagination makes on the feelings. The 
imagination is the original organ of religion. Between God 
and man, in the primitive sense of religion, there is on the one 
hand only a distinction in relation to existence, according to 
which God as a self- sub sistent being is the antithesis of man 
as a dependent being; on the other hand there is only a 
quantitative distinction, i.e., a distinction derived from the 
imagination, for the distinctions of the imagination are only 
quantitative. The infinity of God in religion is quantitative 
infinity; God is and has all that man has, but in an infinitely 
greater measure. The nature of God is the nature of the 
imagination unfolded, made objective.* God is a being con 
ceived under the forms of the senses, but freed from the limits 
of sense, a being at once unlimited and sensational. But 
what is the imagination ? limitless activity of the senses. God 

* This is especially apparent in the superlative, and the preposition 
super, vTTfp, which distinguish the divine predicates, and which very early 
as, for example, with the Neo-Platonists, the Christians among heathen 
philosophers played a chief part in theology. 


is eternal, i.e., he exists at all times; God is omnipresent, i.e., he 
exists in all places ; God is the omniscient being, i.e., the being 
to whom every individual thing, every sensible existence, is 
an object without distinction, without limitation of time and 

Eternity and omnipresence are sensational qualities, for in 
them there is no negation of existence in time and space, but 
only of exclusive limitation to a particular time, to a particular 
place. In like manner omniscience is a sensational quality, 
a sensational knowledge. Eeligion has no hesitation in attri 
buting to God himself the nobler senses : God sees and hears 
all things. But the divine omniscience is a power of knowing 
through the senses while yet the necessary quality, the essen 
tial determination of actual knowledge through the senses is 
denied to it. My senses present sensible objects to me only 
separately and in succession ; but God sees all sensible things 
at once, all locality in an unlocal manner, all temporal things 
in an untemporal manner, all objects of sense in an unsensa- 
tional manner.* That is to say : I extend the horizon of my 
senses by the imagination ; I form to myself a confused con 
ception of the whole of things ; and this conception, which 
exalts me above the limited stand-point of the senses, and 
therefore affects me agreeably, I posit as a divine reality. I 
feel the fact that my knowledge is tied to a local stand-point, 
to sensational experience, as a limitation; what I feel as a 
limitation I do away with in my imagination, which furnishes 
free space for the play of my feelings. This negativing of 
limits by the imagination is the positing of omniscience as a 
divine power and reality. But at the same time there is only 
a quantitative distinction between omniscience and my know 
ledge; the quality of the knowledge is the same. In fact it 
would be impossible for me to predicate omniscience of an 
object or being external to myself, if this omniscience were 
essentially different from my own knowledge, if it were not a 
mode of perception of my own, if it had nothing in common 
with my own power of cognition. That which is recognised 
by the senses is as much the object and content of the divine 

* "Scit itaque Deus, quanta sit multitude pulicum, culicum, muscarum et 
piscium et quot nascantur, quotve moriantur, sed non scit hoc per momenta 
singula, imo simul et semel omnia." Petrus L. (1. i. dist. 39. c. 3). 


omniscience as of my knowledge. Imagination does away only 
with the limit of quantity, not of quality. The proposition 
that our knowledge is limited, means : we know only some 
things, a few things, not all. 

The beneficial influence of religion rests on this extension 
of the sensational consciousness. In religion man is in the 
open air, sub deo; in the sensational consciousness he is in 
his narrow confined dwelling-house. Religion has relation 
essentially, originally and only in its origin is it something 
holy, true, pure, and good to the immediate sensational con 
sciousness alone ; it is the setting aside of the limits of sense. 
Isolated, uninstructed men and nations preserve religion in 
its original sense, because they themselves remain in that 
mental state which is the source of religion. The more 
limited a man's sphere of vision, the less he knows of history, 
Nature, philosophy the more ardently does he cling to his 

For this reason the religious man feels no need of culture. 
Why had the Hebrews no art, no science, as the Greeks had ? 
Because they felt no need of it. To them this need was sup 
plied by Jehovah. In the divine omniscience man raises him 
self above the limits of his own knowledge;* in the divine 
omnipresence, above the limits of his local stand-point; in the 
divine eternity, above the limits of his time. The religious 
man is happy in his imagination ; he has all things in mice ; 
his possessions are always portable. Jehovah accompanies 
me everywhere ; I need not travel out of myself; I have in my 
God the sum of all treasures and precious things, of all that is 
worth knowledge and remembrance. But culture is dependent 
on external things; it has many and various wants, for it 
overcomes the limits of sensational consciousness and life by 
real activity, not by the magical power of the religious imagi 
nation. Hence the Christian religion also, as has been often 
mentioned already, has in its essence no principle of culture, 
for it triumphs over the limitations and difficulties of earthly 
life only through the imagination, only in God, in heaven. 
God is all that the heart needs and desires all good things, 
all blessings. "Dost thou desire love, or faithfulness, or 

* " Qui scientem ctmcta sciunt, quid nescire nequeunt ?" Liber Meditat. 
c. 26 (among the spurious writings of Augustine). 


truth, or consolation, or perpetual presence, this is always in 
Him without measure. Dost thou desire beauty He is the 
supremely beautiful. Dost thou desire riches all riches are 
in Him. Dost thou desire power He is supremely powerful. 
Or whatever thy heart desires, it is found a thousandfold in 
Him, in the best, the single good, which is God."* But how 
can he who has all in God, who already enjoys heavenly bliss 
in the imagination, experience that want, that sense of poverty, 
which is the impulse to all culture? Culture has no other 
object than to realize an earthly heaven; and the religious 
heaven is only realized or won by religious activity. 

The difference, however, between God and man, which is 
originally only quantitative, is by reflection developed into a 
qualitative difference; and thus what was originally only an 
emotional impression, an immediate expression of admiration, 
of rapture, an influence of the imagination on the feelings, has 
fixity given to it as an objective quality, as real incomprehen 
sibility. The favourite expression of reflection in relation to 
this subject is, that we can indeed know concerning God that 
he has such and such attributes, but not hoiv he has them. 
For example, that the predicate of the Creator essentially 
belongs to God, that he created the world, and not out of 
matter already existing, but out of nothing, by an act of 
almighty power, this is clear, certain yes, indubitable; but 
how this is possible naturally passes our understanding. That 
is to say : the generic idea is clear, certain, but the specific 
idea is unclear, uncertain. 

The idea of activity, of making, of creation, is in itself a 
divine idea; it is therefore unhesitatingly applied to God. 
In activity, man feels himself free, unlimited, happy ; in pas 
sivity, limited, oppressed, unhappy. Activity is the positive 
sense of one's personality. That is positive which in man is 
accompanied with joy; hence God is, as we have already said, 
the idea of pure, unlimited joy. We succeed only in what we 
do willingly; joyful effort conquers all things. But that is 
joyful activity which is in accordance with our nature, 
which we do not feel as a limitation, and consequently 
not as a constraint. And the happiest, the most blissful 
activity is that which is productive. To read is delightful, 

* Tauler, 1. c. p. 312, 


reading is passive activity ; but to produce what is worthy 
to be read is more delightful still. It is more blessed to 
give than to receive. Hence this attribute of the species 
productive activity is assigned to God ; that is, realized and 
made objective as divine activity. But every special determi 
nation, every mode of activity is abstracted, and only the 
fundamental determination, which however is essentially 
human, namely, production of what is external to self, is re 
tained. God has not, like man, produced something in parti 
cular, this or that, but all things ; his activity is absolutely 
universal, unlimited. Hence it is self-evident, it is a necessary 
consequence, that the mode in which God has produced the 
All is incomprehensible, because this activity is no mode of 
activity, because the question concerning the how is here an 
absurdity, a question which is excluded by the fundamental 
idea of unlimited activity. Every special activity produces its 
effects in a special manner, because there the activity itself is 
a determinate mode of activity ; and thence necessarily arises 
the question : How did it produce this ? But the answer to the 
question: How did God make the world? has necessarily a 
negative issue, because the world- creating activity in itself 
negatives every determinate activity, such as would alone 
warrant the question, every mode of activity connected with a 
determinate medium, i.e., with matter. This question illegiti 
mately foists in between the subject or producing activity, and 
the object or thing produced, an irrelevant, nay, an excluded 
intermediate idea, namely, the idea of particular, individual 
existence. The activity in question has relation only to the 
collective the All, the world; God created all things, not 
some particular thing ; the indefinite whole, the All, as it is 
embraced by the imagination, not the determinate, the parti 
cular, as, in its particularity, it presents itself to the senses, and 
as, in its totality as the universe, it presents itself to the reason. 
Every particular thing arises in a natural way ; it is something 
determinate, and as such it has what it is only tautology to 
state a determinate cause. It was not God, but carbon, that 
produced the diamond ; a given salt owes its origin, not to 
God, but to the combination of a particular acid with a par 
ticular base. God only created all things together without 

It is true that according to the religious conception, God has 
created every individual thing, as included in the whole ; but 


only indirectly; for he has not -produced the individual in an 
individual manner, the determinate in a determinate manner ; 
otherwise he would be a determinate or conditioned being. 
It is certainly incomprehensible how out of this general, 
indeterminate or unconditioned activity the particular, the 
determinate, can have proceeded; but it is so only because I 
here intrude the object of sensational, natural experience, 
because I assign to the divine activity another object than 
that which is proper to it. Religion has no physical con 
ception of the world; it has no interest in a natural expla 
nation, which can never be given but with a mode of origin. 
Origin is a theoretical, natural-philosophical idea. The 
heathen philosophers busied themselves with the origin of 
things. But the Christian religious consciousness abhorred 
this idea as heathen, irreligious, and substituted the practical 
or subjective idea of Creation, which is nothing else than a 
prohibition to conceive things as having arisen in a natural 
way, an interdict on all physical science. The religious con 
sciousness connects the world immediately with God ; it derives 
all from God, because nothing is an object to him in its par 
ticularity and reality, nothing is to him as it presents itself to 
our reason. All proceeds from God : that is enough, that 
perfectly satisfies the religious consciousness. The question, 
how did God create ? is an indirect doubt that he did create the 
world. It was this question which brought man to atheism, 
materialism, naturalism. To him who asks it, the world is 
already an object of theory, of physical science, i. e., it is an 
object to him in its reality, in its determinate constituents. It 
is this mode of viewing the world which contradicts the idea 
of unconditioned, immaterial activity : and this contradiction 
leads to the negation of the fundamental idea the creation. 

The creation by omnipotence is in its place, is a truth, only 
when all the phenomena of the world are derived from God. 
It becomes, as has been already observed, a myth of past 
ages where physical science introduces itself, where man makes 
the determinate causes, the how of phenomena, the object of 
investigation. To the religious consciousness, therefore, the 
creation is nothing incomprehensible, i. e., unsatisfying ; at 
least it is so only in moments of irreligiousness, of doubt, when 
the mind turns away from God to actual things ; but it is 
highly unsatisfactory to reflection, to theology, which looks 
with one eye at heaven and with the other at earth. As the 



cause, so is the effect. A flute sends forth the tones of a flute, 
not those of a hassoon or a trumpet. If thou hearest the tones 
of a bassoon, but hast never before seen or heard any wind- 
instrument but the flute, it will certainly be inconceivable to 
thee how such tones can come out of a flute. Thus it is here : 
the comparison is only so far inappropriate as the flute itself is 
a particular instrument. But imagine, if it be possible, an 
absolutely universal instrument, which united in itself all 
instruments, without being itself a particular one; thou wilt 
then see that it is an absurd contradiction to desire a particular 
tone which only belongs to a particular instrument, from an 
instrument which thou hast divested precisely of that which is 
characteristic in all particular instruments. 

But there also lies at the foundation of this dogma of incom 
prehensibility the design of keeping the divine activity apart 
from the human, of doing away with their similarity, or rather 
their essential identity, so as to make the divine activity 
essentially different from the human. This distinction between 
the divine and human activity is " nothing." God makes, 
he makes something external to himself, as man does. Making 
is a genuine human idea. Nature gives birth to, brings forth ; 
man makes. Making is an act which I can omit, a designed, 
premeditated, external act ; an act in which my inmost being 
is not immediately concerned, in which, while active, I am not 
at the same time passive, carried away by an internal impulse. 
On the contrary, an activity which is identical with my being 
is not indifferent, is necessary to me, as for example intellectual 
production, which is an inward necessity to me; and for that 
reason lays a deep hold on me, affects me pathologically. 
Intellectual works are not made, making is only the external 
activity applied to them ; they arise in us. To make is an 
indifferent, therefore a free, i. e., optional activity. Thus far 
then that He makes God is entirely at one with man, 
not at all distinguished from him ; but an especial emphasis 
is laid on this, that his making is free, arbitrary, at his 
pleasure. " It has pleased God" to create a world. Thus man 
here deifies satisfaction in self-pleasing, in caprice and ground 
less arbitrariness. The fundamentally human character of the 
divine activity is by the idea of arbitrariness degraded into a 
human manifestation of a low kind; God, from a mirror of 
human nature is converted into a mirror of human vanity and 


And now all at once the harmony is changed into discord ; 
man, hitherto at one with himself, becomes divided: God 
makes out of nothing; he creates, to make out of nothing- is 
to create, this is the distinction. The positive condition 
the act of making is a human one ; hut inasmuch as all that 
is determinate in this conception is immediately denied, reflec 
tion steps in and makes the divine activity not human. But 
with this negation, comprehension, understanding comes to a 
stand ; there remains only a negative, empty notion, because 
conceivability is already exhausted, i.e., the distinction between 
the divine and human determination is in truth a nothing, 
a nihil ncffc.tlrum of the understanding. The naive confes 
sion of this is made in the supposition of "nothing" as an 

God is Love, but not human love ; Understanding, but not 
human understanding, no ! an essentially different under 
standing. But wherein consists this difference? I cannot 
conceive an understanding which acts under other forms than 
those of our own understanding ; I cannot halve or quarter 
understanding so as to have several understandings ; I can 
only conceive one and the same understanding. It is true that 
I can and even must conceive understanding in itself, i.e., free 
from the limits of my individuality; but in so doing I only 
release it from limitations essentially foreign to it ; I do not 
set aside its essential determinations or forms. Religious re 
flection, on the contrary, denies precisely that determination 
or quality which makes a thing what it is. Only that in which 
the divine understanding is identical with the human, is 
something, is understanding, is a real idea ; while that which 
is supposed to make it another, yes, essentially another 
than the human, is objectively nothing, subjectively a mere 

In all other definitions of the Divine Being the " nothing" 
which constitutes the distinction is hidden ; in the creation, on 
the contrary, it is an evident, declared, objective nothing ; and 
is therefore the official, notorious nothing of theology in dis 
tinction from anthropology. 

But the fundamental determination by which man makes his 
own nature a foreign, incomprehensible nature, is the idea of 
individuality or what is only a more abstract expression per 
sonality. The idea of the existence of God first realizes 
itself in the idea of revelation, and the idea of revelation first 

L 2 


realizes itself in the idea of personality. God is a personal 
being : this is the spell, which charms the ideal into the real, 
the subjective into the objective. All predicates, all attributes 
of the divine being are fundamentally human; but as attributes 
of a personal being, and therefore of a being distinct from man 
and existing independently, they appear immediately to be 
really other than human, yet so as that at the same time the 
essential identity always remains at the foundation. Hence 
reflection gives rise to the idea of so-called anthropomorphisms. 
Anthropomorphisms are resemblances between God and man. 
The attributes of the divine and of the human being are not 
indeed the same, but they are analogous. 

Thus personality is the antidote to Pantheism ; i. e., by the 
idea of personality religious reflection expels from its thought 
the identity of the divine and human nature. The rude but 
characteristic expression of pantheism is : man is an effluence 
or a portion of the divine being ; the religious expression is : 
man is the image of God, or a being akin to God ; for accord 
ing to religion man does not spring from Nature, but is of divine 
race, of divine origin. But kinship is a vague, evasive expres 
sion. There are degrees of kinship, near and distant. What 
sort of kinship is intended ? For the relation of man to God, 
there is but one form of kinship which is appropriate, the 
nearest, profoundest, most sacred that can be conceived, the 
relation of the child to the father. According to this God is 
the Father of man, man the son, the child of God. Here is 
posited at once the self-subsistence of God and the depen 
dence of man, and posited as an immediate object of feeling ; 
whereas in Pantheism the part appears just as self-subsistent as 
the whole, since this is represented as made up of its parts. 
Nevertheless this distinction is only an appearance. The father 
is not a father without the child ; both together form a cor 
related being. In love man renounces his independence, and 
reduces himself to a part : a self-humiliation which is only 
compensated by the fact that the one whom he loves at the 
same time voluntarily becomes a part also ; that they both sub 
mit to a higher power, the power of the spirit of family, the 
power of love. Thus there is here the same relation between 
God and man as in pantheism, save that in the one it is repre 
sented as a personal, patriarchal relation, in the other as an im 
personal, general one, save that pantheism expresses logically 
and therefore definitely, directly, what religion invests with the 


imagination. The correlation or rather the identity of God and 
man is veiled in religion by representing both as persons or 
individuals, and God as a self-subsistent, independent being 
apart from his paternity : an independence which however is 
only apparent, for he who, like the God of religion, is a father 
from the depths of the heart, has his very life and being in his 

The reciprocal and profound relation of dependence between 
God as father and man as child, cannot be shaken by the distinc 
tion, that only Christ is the true, natural son of God, and that 
men are but his adopted sons ; so that it is only to Christ as the 
only-begotten Son, and by no means to men, that God stands 
in an essential relation of dependence. For this distinction is 
only a theological, i.e., an illusory one. God adopts only men, 
not brutes. The ground of adoption lies in the human nature. 
The man adopted by divine grace is only the man conscious of 
his divine nature and dignity. Moreover, the only-begotten 
Son himself is nothing else than the idea of humanity, than man 
preoccupied with himself, man hiding from himself and the 
world in God, the heavenly man. The Logos is latent, tacit 
man ; man is the revealed, expressed Logos. The Logos is 
only the prelude of man. That which applies to the Logos 
applies also to the nature of man.* But between God and the 
only-begotten Son there is no real distinction, he who knows 
the Son knows the Father also, and thus there is none between 
God and man. 

It is the same with the idea that man is the image of God. 
The image is here no dead, inanimate thing, but a living being. 
" Man is the image of God," means nothing more than that 
man is a being who resembles God. Similarity between living 
beings rests on natural relationship. The idea of man being 
the image of God reduces itself therefore to kinship ; man is 
like God, because he is the child of God. Resemblance is only 
kinship presented to the senses ; from the former we infer the 

But resemblance is just as deceptive, illusory, evasive an idea 

* " The closest union which Christ possessed with the Father, it is 

possible for me to win All that God gave to his only-begotten 

Son, he has given to me as perfectly as to him." Predigten etzlicher Lehrer 
vor und zu Tauleri Zeiten. Hamburg, 1621, p. 14. " Between the only- 
begotten Son and the Soul there is no distinction." Ib. p. 68. 


as kinship. It is only the idea of personality which does away 
with the identity of nature. Resemblance is identity which 
will not admit itself to he identity, which hides itself behind a 
dim medium, behind the vapour of the imagination. If I dis 
perse this vapour, I come to naked identity. The more similar 
beings are, the less are they to be distinguished ; if I know the 
one, I know the other. It is true that resemblance has its de 
grees. But also the resemblance between God and man has 
its degrees. The good, pious man is more like God than the 
man whose resemblance to Him is founded only on the nature 
of man in general. And even with the pious man there is a 
highest degree of resemblance to be supposed, though this may 
not be obtained here below, but only in the future life. But 
that which man is to become, belongs already to him, at least 
so far as possibility is concerned. The highest degree of re 
semblance is that where there is no further distinction between 
two individuals or beings than that they are two. The essen 
tial qualities, those by which we distinguish things from each 
other, are the same in both. Hence I cannot distinguish them 
in thought, by the Reason, for this all data are wanting ; I 
can only distinguish them by figuring them as visible in my 
imagination or by actually seeing them. If my eyes do not 
say there are really two separately existent beings, my reason 
will take both for one and the same being. Nay, even my eyes 
may confound the one with the other. Things are capable 
of being confounded with each other which are distinguishable 
by the sense and not by the reason, or rather which are differ 
ent only as to existence, not as to essence. Persons altogether 
alike have an extraordinary attraction not only for each other, 
but for the imagination. Resemblance gives occasion to all 
kinds of mystifications and illusions, because it is itself only an 
illusion ; my eyes mock my reason, for which the idea of an 
independent existence is always allied to the idea of a determi 
nate difference. 

Religion is the mind's light, the rays of which are broken by 
the medium of the imagination and the feelings, so as to make 
the same being appear a double one. Resemblance is to 
the Reason identity, which in the realm of reality is divided 
or broken up by immediate sensational impressions, in the 
sphere of religion by the illusions of the imagination; in short, 
that which is identical to the reason is made separate by the idea 
of individuality or personality. I can discover no distinction 


between father and child, archetype and image, God and man, 
if I do not introduce the idea of personality. Eesenihlance is 
here the external guise of identity ; the identity which reason, 
the sense of truth, affirms, hut which the imagination denies ; 
the identity which allows an appearance of distinction to re 
main, a m ere phantasm, which says neither directly yes, nor 
directly no. 





THE personality of God is thus the means by which man con 
verts the qualities of his own nature into the qualities of 
another being, of a being external to himself. The person 
ality of God is nothing else than the projected personality of 

On this process of projecting self outwards rests also the 
Hegelian speculative doctrine, according to which man's con 
sciousness of God is the seZ/-consciousness of God. God is 
thought, cognized by us. According to speculation, God, in 
being thought by us, thinks himself or is conscious of himself ; 
speculation identifies the two sides which religion separates. 
In this it is far deeper than religion, for the fact of God being 
thought is not like the fact of an external object being thought. 
God is an inward, spiritual being; thinking, consciousness, 
is an inward, spiritual act; to think God is therefore to affirm 
what God is, to establish the being of God as an act. That 
God is thought, cognized, is essential ; that this tree is thought, 
is to the tree accidental, unessential. God is an indispensable 
thought, a necessity of thought. But how is it possible that 
this necessity should simply express the subjective, and not 
the objective also? how is it possible that God if he 
is to exist for us, to be an object to us must necessarily 
be thought, if he is in himself like a block, indifferent 
whether he be thought, cognized or not? No! it is not 
possible. We are necessitated to regard the fact of God being 
thought by us, as his thinking himself, or his self-conscious 

Religious objectivism has two passives, two modes in which 
God is thought. On the one hand, God is thought by us, on 
the other, he is thought by himself. God thinks himself, inde 
pendently of his being thought by us : he has a self-conscious 
ness distinct from, independent of, our consciousness. This is 


certainly consistent when once God is conceived as a real 
personality; for the real human person thinks himself, and is 
thought by another ; my thinking of him is to him an in 
different, external fact. This is the last degree of anthropo- 
pathism. In order to make God free and independent of all 
that is human, he is regarded as a formal, real person, his 
thinking is confined within himself, and the fact of his being 
thought is excluded from him, and is represented as occurring 
in another being. This indifference or independence with 
respect to us, to our thought, is the attestation of a self- sub - 
sistent, i.e., external, personal existence. It is true that re 
ligion also makes the fact of God being thought into the self- 
thinking of God ; but because this process goes forward behind 
its consciousness, since God is immediately presupposed as a 
self-existent personal being, the religious consciousness only 
embraces the indifference of the two facts. 

Even religion, however, does not abide by this indifference 
of the two sides. God creates in order to reveal himself: 
creation is the revelation of God. But for stones, plants, and 
animals there is no God, but only for man; so that Nature 
exists for the sake of man, and man purely for the sake of 
God. God glorifies himself in man : man is the pride of God. 
God indeed knows himself even without man ; but so long as 
there is no other me, so long is he only a possible, conceptional 
person. First when a difference from God, a non -divine is 
posited, is God conscious of himself; first when he knows 
what is not God, does he know what it is to be God, does he 
know the bliss of his Godhead. First in the positing of what 
is other than himself, of the world, does God posit himself as 
God. Is God almighty without creation? No ! Omnipotence 
first realizes, proves itself in creation. What is a power, a 
property, which does not exhibit, attest itself? What is a 
force which effects nothing? a light that does not illuminate? 
a wisdom which knows nothing, i.e., nothing real ? And what 
is omnipotence, what all other divine attributes, if man does 
not exist? Man is nothing without God; but also, God is 
nothing without man ;* for only in man is God an object as 

* " God can as little do without us as we without him," Predigten 
etzlicher Lehrer, &c. p. 16. See also on this subject Strauss, Christl. 
Glaubensl. B. i. 47, and the author's work entitled, P. Bayle, pp. 104, 107. 

L 3 


God ; only in man is lie God. The various qualities of man 
first give difference, which is the ground of reality in God. 
The physical qualities of man make God a physical being 
God the Father, who is the creator of Nature, i. e., the per 
sonified, anthropomorphized essence of Nature;* the intel 
lectual qualities of man make God an intellectual being, the 
moral, a moral being. Human misery is the triumph of divine 
compassion ; sorrow for sin is the delight of the divine holiness. 
Life, fire, emotion comes into God only through man. With 
the stubborn sinner God is angry; over the repentant sinner 
he rejoices. Man is the revealed God : in man the divine 
essence first realizes and unfolds itself. In the creation of 
Nature God goes out of himself, he has relation to what is 
other than himself, but in man he returns into himself: man 
knows God, because in him God finds and knows himself, feels 
himself as God. Where there is no pressure, no want, there is 
no feeling ; and feeling is alone real knowledge. Who can 
know compassion without having felt the want of it? justice 
without the experience of injustice? happiness without the 
experience of distress? Thou must feel what a thing is; 
otherwise thou wilt never learn to know it. It is in man that 
the divine properties first become feelings, i.e., man is the self- 
feeling of God; and the feeling of God is the real God; for the 
qualities of God are indeed only real qualities, realities, as felt 
by man, as feelings. If the experience of human misery 
were outside of God, in a being personally separate from him, 
compassion also would not be in God, and we should hence 
have again the Being destitute of qualities, or more correctly 
the nothing, which God was before man or without man. For 
example: Whether I be a good or sympathetic being for 
that alone is good which gives, imparts itself, bonum est com- 
municativum sui, is unknown to me before the opportunity 
presents itself of showing goodness to another being. Only 
in the act of imparting do I experience the happiness of bene 
ficence, the joy of generosity, of liberality. But is this joy 
apart from the joy of the recipient? No; I rejoice because 

* " This temporal, transitory life in this world (i. e. natural life) we have 
through God, who is the almighty Creator of heaven and earth. But the 
eternal untransitory life we have through the Passion and Resurrection of 

our Lord Jesus Christ Jesus Christ a Lord over that life." 

Luther (Th. xvi, s. 459). 


he rejoices. I feel the wretchedness of another, I suffer with 
him ; in alleviating his wretchedness I alleviate my own ; 
sympathy with suffering is itself suffering. The joyful feeling 
of the giver is only the reflex, the self-consciousness of the joy 
in the receiver. Their joy is a common feeling, which accord 
ingly makes itself visible in the union of hands, of lips. So it 
is here. Just as the feeling of human misery is human, so 
the feeling of divine compassion is human. It is only a sense 
of the poverty of finiteness that gives a sense of the hliss of 
infiniteness. Where the one is not, the other is not. The 
two are inseparable, inseparable the feeling of God as God, 
and the feeling of man as man, inseparable the knowledge of 
man and the self-knowledge of God. God is a Self only in 
the human self, only in the human power of discrimination, 
in the principle of difference that lies in the human being. 
Thus compassion is only felt as a me, a self, a force, i. e., as 
something special, through its opposite. The opposite of God 
gives qualities to God, realizes him, makes him a Self. God 
is God, only through that which is not God. Herein we have 
also the mystery of Jacob Bonnie's doctrine. It must only be 
borne in mind that Jacob Bohme, as a mystic and theologian, 
places outside of man the feelings in which the divine being 
first realizes himself, passes from nothing to something, to a 
qualitative being apart from the feelings of man (at least 
in imagination), and that he makes them objective in the 
form of natural qualities, but in such a way that these 
qualities still only represent the impressions made on his 
feelings. It will then be obvious that what the empirical 
religious consciousness first posits with the real creation 
of Nature and of man, the mystical consciousness places 
before the creation in the premuridane God, in doing which, 
however, it does away with the reality of the creation. For 
if God has what is not-God, already in himself, he has no 
need first to create what is not-God in order to be God. The 
creation of the world is here a pure superfluity, or rather an 
impossibility ; this God for very reality does not come to 
reality ; he is already in himself the full and restless world. 
This is especially true of Schelling's doctrine of God, who 
though made up of innumerable " potences" is yet thoroughly 
impotent. Far more reasonable, therefore, is the empirical 
religious consciousness, which makes God reveal, i. e., realize 
himself in real man, real nature, and according to which man 


is created purely for the praise and glory of God. That is to 
say, man is the mouth of God, which articulates and accentuates 
the divine qualities as human feelings. God wills that he be 
honoured, praised. Why? because the passion of man for 
God is the self-consciousness of God. Nevertheless, the re 
ligious consciousness separates these two properly inseparable 
sides, since by means of the idea of personality it makes God 
and man independent existences. Now the Hegelian specula 
tion identifies the two sides, but so as to leave the old contra 
diction still at the foundation ; it is therefore only the con 
sistent carrying out, the completion of a religious truth. The 
learned mob was so blind in its hatred towards Hegel as not 
to perceive that his doctrine, at least in this relation, does not 
in fact contradict religion ; that it contradicts it only in the 
same way as, in general, a developed, consequent process of 
thought contradicts an undeveloped, inconsequent, but never 
theless radically identical conception. 

But if it is only in human feelings and wants that the divine 
" nothing" becomes something, obtains qualities, then the being 
of man is alone the real being of God, man is the real God. 
And if in the consciousness which man has of God first arises 
the self-consciousness of God, then the human consciousness is, 
per se y the divine consciousness. Why then dost thou alienate 
man's consciousness from him, and make it the self- conscious 
ness of a being distinct from man, of that which is an object 
to him ? Why dost thou vindicate existence to God, to man 
only the consciousness of that existence ? God has his con 
sciousness in man, and man his being in God ? Man's 
knowledge of God is God's knowledge of himself? What a 
divorcing and contradiction ! The true statement is this : man's 
knowledge of God is man's knowledge of himself, of his own 
nature. Only the unity of being and consciousness is truth. 
Where the consciousness of God is, there is the being of God, 
in man, therefore ; in the being of God it is only thy own 
being which is an object to thee, and what presents itself 
before thy consciousness is simply what lies behind it. 
If the divine qualities are human, the human qualities are 

Only when we abandon a philosophy of religion, or a theology, 
which is distinct from psychology and anthropology, and reco 
gnise anthropology as itself theology, do we attain to a true, 
self- satisfy ing identity of the divine and human being, the 


identity of the human being with itself. In every theory of the 
identity of the divine and human which is not true identity, 
unity of the human nature with itself, there still lies at the 
foundation a division, a separation into two, since the identity 
is immediately abolished, or rather is supposed to be abolished. 
Every theory of this kind is in contradiction with itself and 
with the understanding, is a half measure a thing of the 
imagination a perversion, a distortion ; w r hich, however, the 
more perverted and false it is, all the more appears to be pro 



RELIGION gives reality or objectivity not only to the human or 
divine nature in general as a personal being ; it further gives 
reality to the fundamental determinations or fundamental dis 
tinctions of that nature as persons. The Trinity is therefore 
originally nothing else than the sum of the essential funda 
mental distinctions which man perceives in the human nature. 
According as the mode of conceiving this nature varies, so 
also the fundamental determinations on which the Trinity is 
founded vary. But these distinctions, perceived in one and the 
same human nature, are hypostasized as substances, as divine 
persons. And herein, namely, that these different determina 
tions are in God hypostases, subjects, is supposed to lie the 
distinction between these determinations as they are in God, 
and as they exist in man, in accordance with the law already 
enunciated, that only in the idea of personality does the human 
personality transfer and make objective its own qualities. But 
the personality exists only in the imagination; the funda 
mental determinations are therefore only for the imagination 
hypostases, persons ; for reason, for thought, they are mere 
relations or determinations. The idea of the Trinity contains 
in itself the contradiction of polytheism and monotheism, of 
imagination and reason, of fiction and reality. Imagina 
tion gives the Trinity, reason the Unity of the persons. Ac 
cording to reason, the things distinguished are only distinc 
tions ; according to imagination, the distinctions are things 
distinguished, which therefore do away with the unity of the 
divine being. To the reason, the divine persons are phantoms, 
to the imagination realities. The idea of the Trinity demands 
that man should think the opposite of what he imagines, and 
imagine the opposite of what he thinks, that he should think 
phantoms realities.* 

* It is curious to observe how the speculative religious philosophy 
undertakes the defence of the Trinity against the godless understanding, 


There are three Persons, but they are not essentially distin 
guished. Tres personce, hut una essentia. So far the concep 
tion is a natural one. We can conceive three and even more 
persons, identical in essence. Thus we men are distinguished 
from one another by personal differences, but in the main, in 
essence, in humanity, we are one. And this identification is 
made not only by the speculative understanding, but even by 
feeling. A given individual is a man as we are ; punctuin 
satis ; in this feeling all distinctions vanish, whether he be 
rich or poor, clever or stupid, culpable or innocent. The feel 
ing of compassion, sympathy, is therefore a substantial, essen 
tial, speculative feeling. But the three or more human persons 
exist apart from each other, have a separate existence, even 
when they verify and confirm the unity of their nature 
by fervent love. They together constitute, through love, a 
single moral personality, but each has a physical existence for 
himself. Though they may be reciprocally absorbed in each 
other, may be unable to dispense with each other, they have yet 
always a formally independent existence. Independent exist 
ence, existence apart from others, is the essential character 
istic of a person, of a substance. It is otherwise in God, 
and necessarily so ; for while his personality is the same 
as that of man, it is held to be the same with a difference, on 
the ground simply of this postulate : there mmt be a difference. 
The three Persons in God have no existence out of each other ; 
else there would meet us in the heaven of Christian dogmatics, 
not indeed many gods, as in Olympus, but at least three divine 
Persons in an individual form, three Gods. The gods of Olym 
pus were real persons, for they existed apart from each other, 
they had the criterion of real personality in their individuality, 
though they were one in essence, in divinity ; they had different 
personal attributes, but were each singly a god, alike in divinity, 
different as existing subjects or persons; they were genuine 

and yet, by doing away with the personal substances, and explaining the 
relation of Father and Son as merely an inadequate image borrowed from 
organic life, robs the Trinity of its very heart and soul. Truly, if the cab 
balistic artifices which the speculative religious philosophy applies in the 
service of the absolute religion were admissible in favour of finite religions, 
it would not be difficult to squeeze the Pandora's box of Christian dogmatics 
out of the horns of the Egyptian Apis. Nothing further would be needed 
for this purpose than the ominous distinction of the understanding from the 
speculative reason, a distinction which is adapted to the justification of 
every absurdity. 


divine personalities. The three Persons of the Christian God 
head, on the contrary, are only imaginary, pretended persons, 
assuredly different from real persons, just because they are only 
phantasms, shadows of personalities, while, notwithstanding, 
they are assumed to be real persons. The essential character 
istic of personal reality, the polytheistic element, is excluded, 
denied as non-divine. But by this negation their personality 
becomes a mere phantasm. Only in the truth of the plural lies 
the truth of the Persons. The three persons of the Christian 
Godhead are not tres Dii, three Gods ; at least they are not 
meant to be such ; but unus Deus, one God. The three Per 
sons end, not, as might have been expected, in a plural, but in 
a singular ; they are not only Unum the gods of Olympus are 
that but Unus. Unity has here the significance not of essence 
only, but also of existence ; unity is the existential form of 
God. Three are one : the plural is a singular. God is a per 
sonal being consisting of three persons.* 

The three persons are thus only phantoms in the eyes of 
reason, for the conditions or modes under which alone their 
personality could be realized, are done away with by the com 
mand of monotheism. The unity gives the lie to the person 
ality ; the self-subsistence of the persons is annihilated in the 
self-subsistence of the unity, they are mere relations. The 
Son is not without the Father, the Father not without the Son; 
the Holy Spirit, who indeed spoils the symmetry, expresses 
nothing but the relation of the two to each other. But the 
divine persons are distinguished from each other only by that 
which constitutes their relation to each other. The essential 
in the Father as a person is that he is a Father, of the Son that 
he is a Son. What the Father is over and above his father 
hood, does not belong to his personality ; therein he is God, 
and as God identical with the Son as God. Therefore it is 
said : God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost : 
God is in all three alike. " There is one person of the 
Father, another of the Son, and another of the Holy Ghost. But 

* The unity has not the significance of genus, not of unum but of unus. 
(See Augustine and Petrus Lomb. 1. i. dist. 19, c. 7, 8, 9.) " Hi ergo tres, 
qui unum sunt propter iiieffabilem conjunctionem deitatis qua ineftabiliter 
copulantur, unus Deus est." (Petrus L. 1. c. c. 6.) " How can reason 
bring itself into accord with this, or believe, that three is one and one is 
three?" Luther (T. x. iv. p. 13). 


the Godhead of the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, 
is all one ;" i. e., they are distinct persons, but without distinc 
tion of substance. The personality, therefore, arises purely 
in the relation of the Fatherhood ; i. e., the idea of the person 
is here only a relative idea, the idea of a relation. Man as a 
father is dependent, he is essentially the correlative of the son ; 
he is not a father without the son ; by fatherhood man reduces 
himself to a relative, dependent, impersonal being. It is 
before all things necessary not to allow oneself to be deceived 
by these relations as they exist in reality, in men. The human 
father is, over and above his paternity, an independent per 
sonal being ; he has at least a formal existence for himself, an 
existence apart from his son ; he is not merely a father, with 
the exclusion of all the other predicates of a real personal 
being. Fatherhood is a relation which the bad man can make 
quite an external one, not touching his personal being. But 
in God the Father, there is no distinction between God the 
Father and God the Son as God; the abstract fatherhood alone 
constitutes his personality, his distinction from the Son, whose 
personality likewise is founded only on the abstract sonship. 

But at the same time these relations, as has been said, are 
maintained to be not mere relations, but real persons, beings, 
substances. Thus the truth of the plural, the truth of poly 
theism is again affirmed,* and the truth of monotheism is denied. 
To require the reality of the persons is to require the unreality 
of the unity, and conversely, to require the reality of the unity 
is to require the unreality of the persons. Thus in the holy 
mystery of the Trinity, that is to say, so far as it is supposed 
to represent a truth distinct from human nature, all resolves 
itself into delusions, phantasms, contradictions, and sophisms. f 

* " Quia ergo pater Deus et films Deus et spiritus s. Dens cur non dicuntur 
tres Dii? Ecce proposuit hanc propositionem (Augustinus) attende quid 

respondeat Si autem dicerem : tres Deos, contradiceret scriptura 

dicens : Audi Israel : Deus tuus unus est. Ecce absolutio quaestionis : quare 
potius dicamus tres personas quam tres Deos, quia scil. illud non contradicit 
scriptura." Petrus L. (1. i. dist. 23, c. 3). How much did even Catholicism 
repose upon Holy Writ ! 

f A truly masterly presentation of the overwhelming contradictions in 
which the mystery of the Trinity involves the genuine religious sentiment, 
is to be found in the work already cited Theanthropos. Eine Reihe von 
Aphorismen which expresses in the form of the religious sentiment what 
in the present work is expressed in the form of the reason ; and which is 
therefore especially to be recommended to women. 



As the objective essence of religion, the idea of God, resolves 
itself into mere contradictions, so also, on grounds easily un 
derstood, does its subjective essence. 

The subjective elements of religion are on the one hand 
Faith and Love; on the other hand, so far as it presents itself 
externally in a cultus, the sacraments of Baptism and the 
Lord's Supper. The sacrament of Faith is Baptism, the 
sacrament of Love is the Lord's Supper. In strictness there 
are only two sacraments, as there are two subjective elements 
in religion, Faith and Love : for Hope is only faith in relation 
to the future ; so that there is the same logical impropriety 
in making it a distinct mental act as in making the Holy 
Ghost a distinct being. 

The identity of the sacraments with the specific essence of 
religion as hitherto developed is at once made evident, apart 
from other relations, by the fact that they have for their basis 
natural materials or things, to which, however, is attributed a 
significance and effect in contradiction with their nature. 
Thus the material of baptism is water, common, natural 
water, just as the material of religion in general is common, 
natural humanity. But as religion alienates our own nature 
from us, and represents it as not ours, so the water of baptism 
is regarded as quite other than common water; for it has not 
a physical but a hyperphysical power and significance ; it is 
the Lavacrum regenerations, it purifies man from the stains of 
original sin, expels the inborn devil, and reconciles with God. 
Thus it is natural water only in appearance ; in truth it is 
supernatural. In other words : the baptismal water has super 
natural effects (and that which operates supernaturally is 
itself supernatural) only in idea, only in the imagination. 

And yet the material of Baptism is said to be natural water. 
Baptism has no validity and efficacy if it is not performed 


with water. Thus the natural quality of water has in itself 
value and significance, since the supernatural effect of baptism 
is associated in a supernatural manner with water only, and 
not with any other material. God, by means of his omnipo 
tence, could have united the same effect to anything whatever. 
But he does not; he accommodates himself to natural quali 
ties ; he chooses an element corresponding, analogous to his 
operation. Thus the natural is not altogether set aside ; on 
the contrary, there always remains a certain analogy with the 
natural, an appearance of naturalness. In like manner wine 
represents blood; bread, flesh.* Even miracle is guided by 
analogies; water is changed into wine or blood, one species 
into another, with the retention of the indeterminate generic 
idea of liquidity. So it is here. Water is the purest, clearest 
of liquids ; in virtue of this its natural character it is the image 
of the spotless nature of the Divine Spirit. In short, water has 
a significance in itself, as water ; it is on account of its natural 
quality that it is consecrated and selected as the vehicle of the 
Holy Spirit. So far there lies at the foundation of Baptism a 
beautiful, profound natural significance. But, at the very same 
time, this beautiful meaning is lost again because water has a 
transcendental effect, an effect which it has only through the 
supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, and not through itself. 
The natural quality becomes indifferent : he who makes wine 
out of water, can at will unite the effects of baptismal water 
with any material whatsoever. 

Baptism cannot be understood without the idea of miracle. 
Baptism is itself a miracle. The same power which works 
miracles, and by means of them, as a proof of the divinity of 
Christ, turns Jews and Pagans into Christians, this same 
power has instituted baptism and operates in it. Christianity 
began with miracles, and it carries itself forward with miracles. 
If the miraculous power of baptism is denied, miracles in ge 
neral must be denied. The miracle-working water of baptism 
springs from the same source as the water which at the wed 
ding at Cana in Galilee was turned into wine. 

The faith which is produced by miracle is not dependent on 
me, on my spontaneity, on freedom of judgment and convic- 

* " Sacramentum ejus rei similitudinem gerit, cujus signum est." Petrus 
Lomb. (1. iv. dist. 1, c. 1). 


tion. A miracle which happens hefore my eyes I must believe, 
if I am not utterly obdurate. Miracle compels me to believe 
in the divinity of the miracle-worker.* It is true that in some 
cases it presupposes faith, namely, where it appears in the 
light of a reward ; but with that exception it presupposes not 
so much actual faith as a believing disposition, willingness, 
submission, in opposition to an unbelieving, obdurate, and 
malignant disposition, like that of the Pharisees. The end of 
miracle is to prove that the miracle-worker is really that which 
he assumes to be. Faith based on miracle is the only 
thoroughly warranted, well-grounded, objective faith. The 
faith which is presupposed by miracle is only faith in a 
Messiah, a Christ in general; but the faith that this very man 
is Christ and this is the main point is first wrought by 
miracle as its consequence. This presupposition even of an 
indeterminate faith is, however, by no means necessary. Mul 
titudes first became believers through miracles; thus miracle 
was the cause of their faith. If then miracles do not contra 
dict Christianity, and how should they contradict it ? neither 
does the miraculous efficacy of baptism contradict it. On the 
contrary, if baptism is to have a Christian significance it must 
of necessity have a supernaturalistic one. Paul was converted 
by a sudden miraculous appearance, when he was still full of 
hatred to the Christians. Christianity took him by violence. 
It is in vain to allege that with another than Paul this appear 
ance would not have had the same consequences, and that 
therefore the effect of it must still be attributed to Paul. For 
if the same appearance had been vouchsafed to others, they 
would assuredly have become as thoroughly Christian as Paul. 
Is not divine grace omnipotent ? The unbelief and non-con 
vertibility of the Pharisees is no counter-argument ; for from 
them grace was expressly withdrawn. The Messiah must 
necessarily, according to a divine decree, be betrayed, mal 
treated and crucified. For this purpose there must be indivi 
duals who should maltreat and crucify him : and hence it was 
a prior necessity that the divine grace should be withdrawn 
from those individuals. It was not indeed totally withdrawn 

* In relation to the miracle-worker faith (confidence in God's aid) is 
certainly the causa efficiens of the miracle. (See Matt. xvii. 20 ; Acts, vi. 8.) 
But in relation to the spectators of the miracle and it is they who are in 
question here miracle is the causa efficiens of faith. 


from them, but this was only in order to aggravate their guilt, 
and by no means with the earnest will to convert them. How 
would it be possible to resist the will of God, supposing of 
course that it was his real will, not a mere velleity ? Paul 
himself represents his conversion as a work of divine grace 
thoroughly unmerited on his part ;* and quite correctly. Not 
to resist divine grace, i. e., to accept divine grace, to allow it to 
work upon one, is already something good, and consequently is 
an effect of the Holy Spirit. Nothing is more perverse than the 
attempt to reconcile miracle with freedom of inquiry and 
thought, or grace with freedom of will. In religion the nature 
of man is regarded as separate from man. The activity, the 
grace of God is the projected spontaneity of man, Free Will 
made objective.! 

It is the most flagrant inconsequence to adduce the expe 
rience that men are not sanctified, not converted by baptism, 
as an argument against its miraculous efficacy, as is done by 
rationalistic orthodox theologians ;J for all kinds of miracles, 
the objective power of prayer, and in general all the superna 
tural truths of religion, also contradict experience. He who 
appeals to experience renounces faith. Where experience is a 
datum, there religious faith and feeling have already vanished. 
The unbeliever denies the objective efficacy of prayer only 
because it contradicts experience ; the atheist goes yet farther, 
he denies even the existence of God, because he does not find 
it in experience. Inward experience creates no difficulty to 
him ; for what thou experiences! in thyself of another existence, 
proves only that there is something in thee which thou thyself 
art not, which works upon thee independently of thy personal 

* " Here we see a miracle surpassing all miracles, that Christ should 
have so mercifully converted his greatest enemy." Luther (T. xvi. p. 560). 

f Hence it is greatly to the honour of Luther's understanding and sense 
of truth that, particularly when writing against Erasmus, he unconditionally 
denied the free will of man as opposed to divine grace. " The name Free 
Will," says Luther, quite correctly from the stand-point of religion, " is a 
divine title and name, which none ought to bear but the Divine Majesty 
alone." (T. xix. p. 28.) 

J Experience indeed extorted even from the old theologians, whose faith 
was an uncompromising one, the admission that the effects of baptism are, at 
least in this life, very limited. " Baptismus non aufert omnes pcenalitates 
hujus vitse." Mezger. Theol. Schol. T. iv. p. 251. See also Petrus L. 1. iv. 
dist. 4, c. 4 ; 1. ii. dist, 32, c. 1. 


will and consciousness, without thy knowing what this myste 
rious something is. But faith is stronger than experience. 
The facts which contradict faith do not disturb it ; it is happy 
in itself ; it has eyes only for itself, to all else it is blind. 

It is true that religion, even on the stand-point of its mystical 
materialism, always requires the co-operation of subjectivity, 
and therefore requires it in the sacraments ; but herein is exhi 
bited its contradiction with itself. And this contradiction is 
particularly glaring in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper; for 
baptism is given to infants, though even in them, as a condi 
tion of its efficacy, the co-operation of subjectivity is insisted 
on, but, singularly enough, is supplied in the faith of others, 
in the faith of the parents, or of their representatives, or of 
the church in general.* 

The object in the sacrament of the Lord's Supper is the 
body of Christ, a real body ; but the necessary predicates of 
reality are wanting to it. Here we have again, in an example 
presented to the senses, what we have found in the nature of 
religion in general. The object or subject in the religious 
syntax is always a real human or natural subject or predicate; 
but the closer definition, the essential predicate of this predicate 
is denied. The subject is sensuous, but the predicate is not 
sensuous, i.e., is contradictory to the subject. I distinguish a 
real body from an imaginary one only by this, that the former 
produces corporeal effects, involuntary effects, upon me. If 
therefore the bread be the real body of God, the partaking 
of it must produce in me immediate, involuntarily sanctifying 
effects; I need to make no special preparation, to bring with me 
no holy disposition. If I eat an apple, the apple of itself gives 
rise to the taste of apple. At the utmost I need nothing more 
than a healthy stomach to perceive that the apple is an apple. 
The Catholics require a state of fasting as a condition of par 
taking the Lord's Supper. This is enough. I take hold of the 
body with my lips, I crush it with my teeth, by my oesophagus 
it is carried into my stomach; I assimilate it corporeally, not 

* Even in the absurd fiction of the Lutherans, that " infants believe in 
baptism," the action of subjectivity reduces itself to the faith of others, since 
the faith of infants is " wrought by God through the intercession of the 
god-parents and their bringing up of the children in the faith of the 
Christian Church." Luther (T. xiii. pp. 360, 361). " Thus the faith of 
another helps nie to obtain a faith of my own." Ib. (T. xiv. p. 347a). 


spiritually.* Why are its effects not held to be corporeal ? Why 
should not this hody, which is a corporeal, hut at the same 
time heavenly, supernatural substance, also bring forth in me 
corporeal and yet at the same time holy, supernatural effects? 
If it is my disposition, my faith, which alone makes the divine 
body a means of sanctification to me, which transubstantiates 
the dry bread into pneumatic animal substance, why do I still 
need an external object? It is I myself who give rise to the 
effect of the body on me, and therefore to the reality of the body; 
I am acted on by myself. Where is the objective truth and 
power ? He who partakes the Lord's Supper unworthily has 
nothing further than the physical enjoyment of bread and wine. 
He who brings nothing, takes nothing away. The specific 
difference of this bread from common natural bread rests there 
fore only on the difference between the state of mind at the 
table of the Lord, and the state of mind at any other table. 
" He that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh 
damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body."t But 
this mental state itself is dependent only on the significance 
which I give to this bread. If it has for me the significance not 
of bread, but of the body of Christ, then it has not the effect of 
common bread. In the significance attached to it lies its effect. 
I do not eat to satisfy hunger; hence I consume only a small 
quantity. Thus to go no further than the quantity taken, 
which in every other act of taking food plays an essential part, 
the significance of common bread is externally set aside. 

But this supernatural significance exists only in the imagina 
tion; to the senses, the wine remains wine, the bread, bread. 
The Schoolmen therefore had recourse to the precious distinc 
tion of substance and accidents. All the accidents which con- 

* " This," says Luther, " is in summa our opinion, that in and with the 
bread, the body of Christ is truly eaten; thus, that all which the bread 
undergoes and effects, the body of Christ undergoes and effects ; that it is 
divided, eaten and chewed with the teeth propter unionem sacramentalem" 
(Plank's Gesch. der Entst. des protest. Lehrbeg. B. viii. s. 369.) Elsewhere, 
it is true, Luther denies that the body of Christ, although it is partaken of 
corporeally, " is chewed and digested like a piece of beef." (T. xix. p. 429.) 
No wonder; for that which is partaken of, is an object without objectivity, a 
body without corporeality, flesh without the qualities of flesh ; " spiritual 
flesh," as Luther says, i.e., imaginary flesh. Be it observed further, that the 
Protestants also take the Lord's Supper fasting, but this is merely a custom 
with them, not a law. (See Luther, T. xviii. p. 200, 201.) 
. f 1 Cor. xi. 29. 


stitute tlie nature of wine and bread are still there; only that 
which is made up by these accidents, the subject, the substance, 
is wanting, is changed into flesh and blood. But all the pro 
perties together, whose combination forms this unity, are the 
substance itself. What are wine and bread if I take from them 
the properties which make them what they are ? Nothing. 
Flesh and blood have therefore no objective existence; other 
wise they must be an object to the unbelieving senses. On 
the contrary: the only valid witnesses of an objective existence 
taste, smell, touch, sight testify unanimously to the reality 
of the wine and bread, and nothing else. The wine and bread 
are in reality natural, but in imagination divine substances. 

Faith is the power of the imagination, which makes the real 
unreal, and the unreal real: in direct contradiction with the 
truth of the senses, with the truth of reason. Faith denies 
what objective reason affirms, and affirms what it denies.* The 
mystery of the Lord's Supper is the mystery of faith :f hence 
the partaking of it is the highest, the most rapturous, blissful 
act of the believing soul. The negation of objective truth 
which is not gratifying to feeling, the truth of reality, of the 
objective world and reason, a negation which constitutes the 
essence of faith, reaches its highest point in the Lord's Supper; 
for faith here denies an immediately present, evident, indubitable 
object, maintaining that it is not what the reason and senses 
declare it to be, that it is only in appearance bread, but in 
reality flesh. The position of the Schoolmen, that according 
to the accidents it is bread, and according to the substance 

* " Videtur enim species vini et panis, et substantia panis et vini non 
creditor. Creditor aotern snbstantia corporis et sangninis Christi et tarnen 
species non cernitor." Bernardos (ed. Bas. 1552, pp. 189 191). 

f It is so iii another relation not developed here, hot which may be men 
tioned in a note: namely, the following. In religion, in faith, man is an 
object to himself as the object, i.e., the end or determining motive, of God. 
Man is occopied with himself in and throogh God. God is the means of 
homan existence and happiness. This religioos troth, embodied in a coltos, 
in a sensooos form, is the Lord's Sopper. In this sacrament man feeds opon 
God the Creator of heaven and earth as on material food; by the act 
of eating and drinking he declares God to be a mere means of life to man. 
Here man is virtoally sopposed to be the God of God: hence the Lord's 
Sopper is the highest self-enjoyment of homan sobjectivity. Even the 
Protestant not indeed in words, bot in troth transforms God into an ex 
ternal thing, since he subjects Him to himself as an object of sensational 


flesh, is merely the abstract, explanatory, intellectual expression 
of what faith accepts and declares, and has therefore no other 
meaning than this : to the senses or to common perception it is 
bread, but in truth, flesh. Where therefore the imaginative 
tendency of faith has assumed such power over the senses and 
reason as to deny the most evident sensible truths, it is no 
wonder if believers can raise themselves to such a degree of 
exaltation as actually to see blood instead of wine. Such ex 
amples Catholicism has to show. Little is wanting in order to 
perceive externally what faith and imagination hold to be real. 

So long as faith in the mystery of the Lord's Supper as 
a holy, nay the holiest, highest truth, governed man, so long 
was his governing principle the imagination. All criteria of 
reality and unreality, of unreason and reason, had disappeared : 
anything whatever that could be imagined passed for real pos 
sibility. Religion hallowed every contradiction of reason, of 
the nature of things. Do not ridicule the absurd questions of 
the Schoolmen ! They were necessary consequences of faith. 
That which is only a matter of feeling had to be made a matter 
of reason, that which contradicts the understanding had to be 
made not to contradict it. This was the fundamental contra 
diction of scholasticism, whence all other contradictions followed 
of course. 

And it is of no particular importance whether I believe the 
Protestant or the Catholic doctrine of the Lord's Supper. The 
sole distinction is, that in Protestantism it is only on the 
tongue, in the act of partaking, that flesh and blood are united 
in a thoroughly miraculous manner with bread and wine ;* 
while in Catholicism, it is before the act of partaking, by the 
power of the priest, who however here acts only in the name 
of the Almighty, that bread and wine are really transmuted 
into flesh and blood. The Protestant prudently avoids a 
definite explanation ; he does not lay himself open like the 
pious, uncritical simplicity of Catholicism, whose God, as an 
external object, can be devoured by a mouse; he shuts up his 

* "Nostrates, prsesentiam realem consecrationis effectum esse, adfirmant; 
idque ita, ut turn se exserat, cum usus legitiraus accedit. Nee est quod 
regeras, Christum hsec verba: hoc est corpus meum, protulisse, antequam 
discipuli ejus comederent, adeoque panem jam ante usum corpus Christ! 
fuisse." Buddeus (1. c. 1. v. c. 1, 13, 17). See, on the other hand, 
Concil. Trident. Sessio 13, cc. 3, 8, Can. 4. 



God within himself, where he can no more be torn from him, 
and thus secures him as well from the power of accident as 
from that of ridicule ; yet, notwithstanding this, he just as 
much as the Catholic consumes real flesh and hlood in the 
hread and wine. Slight indeed was the difference at first 
between Protestants and Catholics in the doctrine of the Lord's 
Supper ! Thus at Anspach there arose a controversy on the 
question " whether the body of Christ enters the stomach, 
and is digested like other food ?"* 

But although the imaginative activity of faith makes the 
objective existence the mere appearance, and the emotional, 
imaginary existence the truth and reality ; still, in itself or in 
truth, that which is really objective is only the natural ele 
ments. Even the Host in the pyx of the Catholic priest is in 
itself only to faith a divine body, this external thing, into 
which he transubstantiates the divine being is only a thing of 
faith; for even here the body is not visible, tangible, tasteable 
as a body. That is : the bread is only in its significance 
flesh. It is true that to faith this significance has the sense 
of actual existence ; as, in general, in the ecstasy of fervid 
feeling that which signifies becomes the thing signified; it is 
held not to signify, but to be flesh. But this state of being 
flesh is not that of real flesh; it is a state of being which is 
only believed in, imagined, i. e., it has only the value, the 
quality, of a significance, a truth conveyed in a symbol. f A 
thing which has a special significance for me, is another thing 
in my imagination than in reality. The thing signifying is 
not itself that which is signified. What it is, is evident to the 
senses ; what it signifies, is only in my feelings, conception, 
imagination, is only for me, not for others, is not objectively 
present. So here. When therefore Zwinglius said that the 
Lord's Supper has only a subjective significance, he said the same 
thing as his opponents ; only he disturbed the illusion of the 
religious imagination; for that w T hich "is" in the Lord's 

* Apologie Melancthon. Strobel. Numb. 1783, p. 127. 

f " The fanatics however believe that it is mere bread and wine, and it is 
assuredly so as they believe ; they have it so, and eat mere bread and wine." 
Luther (T. xix. p. 432). That is to say, if thou believest, representest to 
thyself, conceivest, that the bread is not bread, but the body of Christ, it is 
not bread; but if thou dost not believe so, it is not so. What it is in thy 
belief that it actually is. 


Supper, is only an illusion of the imagination, but with the 
further illusion that it is not an illusion. Zwinglius only ex 
pressed simply, nakedly, prosaically, rationalistically, and there 
fore offensively, what the others declared mystically, indirectly, 
inasmuch as they confessed* that the effect of the Lord's Supper 
depends only on a worthy disposition or on faith ; i. e., that the 
bread and wine are the flesh and blood of the Lord, are the 
Lord himself, only for him for whom they have the super 
natural significance of the divine body, for on this alone depends 
the worthy disposition, the religious emotion. f 

But if the Lord's Supper effects nothing, consequently is 
nothing, for only that which produces effects, is, without a 
certain state of mind, without faith, then in faith alone lies its 
reality; the entire event goes forward in the feelings alone. 
If the idea that I here receive the real body of the Saviour acts 
on the religious feelings, this idea itself arises from the 
feelings ; it produces devout sentiments, because it is itself a 
devout idea. Thus here also the religious subject is acted on 
by himself as if by another being, through the conception of 
an imaginary object. Therefore the process of the Lord's 
Supper can quite well, even without the intermediation of bread 
and wine, without any church ceremony, be accomplished in 
the imagination. There are innumerable devout poems, the 
sole theme of which is the blood of Christ. In these we have 
a genuinely poetical celebration of the Lord's Supper. In the 
lively representation of the suffering, bleeding Saviour, the soul 
identifies itself with him ; here the saint in poetic exaltation 
drinks the pure blood, unmixed with any contradictory, material 
elements; here there is no disturbing object between the idea 
of the blood and the blood itself. 

But though the Lord's Supper, or a sacrament in general, is 
nothing without a certain state of mind, without faith, never 
theless religion presents the sacrament at the same time as 
something in itself real, external, distinct from the human 

* Even the Catholics also. " Hujus sacramenti effectus, quern in anima 
operatiir digne sumentis, est adunatio hominis ad Christum." Concil. 
Florent. de S. Euchar. 

f " If the body of Christ is in the bread and is eaten with faith, it 
strengthens the soul, in that the soul believes that it is the body of Christ 
which the mouth eats." Luther (T. xix. p. 433; see also p. 205). " For 
what we believe that we receive, that we receive in truth." Ib. (T. xvii. 
p. 557). 

M 2 


being, so that in the religious consciousness the true thing, 
which is faith, is made only a collateral thing, a condition, and 
the imaginary thing becomes the principal thing. And the 
necessary, immanent consequences and effects of this religious 
materialism, of this subordination of the human to the supposed 
divine, of the subjective to the supposed objective, of truth to 
imagination, of morality to religion, the necessary conse 
quences are superstition and immorality : superstition, because 
a thing has attributed to it an effect which does not lie in its 
nature, because a thing is held up as not being what it in truth 
is, because a mere conception passes for objective reality; im 
morality, because necessarily, in feeling, the holiness of the 
action as such is separated from morality, the partaking of the 
sacrament, even apart from the state of mind, becomes a holy 
and saving act. Such, at least, is the result in practice, which 
knows nothing of the sophistical distinctions of theology. In 
general : wherever religion places itself in contradiction icith 
reason, it places itself also in contradiction with the moral 
sense. Only with the sense of truth coexists the sense of the 
right and good. Depravity of understanding is always de 
pravity of heart. He who deludes and cheats his under 
standing has not a veracious, honourable heart ; sophistry 
corrupts the whole man. And the doctrine of the Lord's 
Supper is sophistry. 

The Truth of the disposition, or of faith as a requisite to 
communion, involves the Untruth of the bodily presence of 
God; and again the Truth of the objective existence of the 
divine body involves the Untruth of the disposition. 



THE Sacraments are a sensible presentation of that contradic 
tion of idealism and materialism, of subjectivism and objecti 
vism, which belongs to the inmost nature of religion. But the 
sacraments are nothing without Faith and Love. Hence the 
contradiction in the sacraments carries us back to the primary 
contradiction of Faith and Love. 

The essence of religion, its latent nature, is the identity of 
the divine being with the human ; but the form of religion, or 
its apparent, conscious nature, is the distinction between them. 
G od is the human being ; but he presents himself to the reli 
gious consciousness as a distinct being. Now, that which re 
veals the basis, the hidden essence of religion, is Love ; that 
which constitutes its conscious form is Faith. Love identifies 
man with God and God with man, consequently it identifies 
man with man ; faith separates God from man, consequently it 
separates man from man, for God is nothing else than the 
idea of the species invested with a mystical form, the separa 
tion of God from man is therefore the separation of man from 
man, the unloosing of the social bond. By faith religion 
places itself in contradiction with morality, with reason, with 
the unsophisticated sense of truth in man ; by love, it opposes 
itself again to this contradiction. Faith isolates God, it makes 
him a particular, distinct being : love universalizes ; it makes 
God a common being, the love of whom is one with the love of 
man. Faith produces in man an inward disunion, a disunion 
with himself, and by consequence an outward disunion also ; 
but love heals the wounds which are made by faith in the heart 
of man. Faith makes belief in its God a law : love is freedom, 
it condemns not even the atheist, because it is itself atheistic, 
itself denies, if not theoretically, at least practically, the exist 
ence of a particular, individual God, opposed to man. Love 
has God in itself: faith has God out of itself; it estranges God 
from man, it makes him an external object. 


Faith, being inherently external, proceeds even to the adop 
tion of outward fact as its object, and becomes historical faith. 
It is therefore of the nature of faith that it can become a 
totally external confession ; and that with mere faith, as such, 
superstitious, magical effects are associated.* The devils be 
lieve that God is, without ceasing to be devils. Hence a dis 
tinction has been made between faith in God, and belief that 
there is a God.f But even with this bare belief in the exist 
ence of God, the assimilating power of love is intermingled ; 
a power which by no means lies in the idea of faith as such, and 
in so far as it relates to external things. 

The only distinctions or judgments which are immanent to 
faith, which spring out of itself, are the distinctions of right or 
genuine, and wrong or false faith ; or in general, of belief and 
unbelief. Faith discriminates thus : This is true, that is false. 
And it claims truth to itself alone. Faith has for its object a 
definite, specific truth, which is necessarily united with nega 
tion. Faith is in its nature exclusive. One thing alone is 
truth, one alone is God, one alone has the monopoly of being 
the Son of God ; all else is nothing, error, delusion. Jehovah 
alone is the true God ; all other gods are vain idols. 

Faith has in its mind something peculiar to itself; it rests 
on a peculiar revelation of God ; it has not come to its posses 
sions in an ordinary way, that way which stands open to all 
men alike. What stands open to all is common, and for that 
reason cannot form a special object of faith. That God is the 
creator, all men could know from Nature ; but what this God is 
in person, can be known only by special grace, is the object of 
a special faith. And because he is only revealed in a peculiar 
manner, the object of this faith is himself a peculiar being. 
The God of the Christians is indeed the God of the heathens, 
but with a wide difference : just such a difference as there is 
between me as I am to a friend, and me as I am to a stranger, 
w r ho only knows me at a distance. God as he is an object to 
the Christians, is quite another than as he is an object to the 
heathens. The Christians know God personally, face to face. 
The heathens know only and even this is too large an admis 
sion "what," and not "who," God is; for which reason they 

* Hence the mere name of Christ has miraculous powers, 
f " Gott glauben und an Gott glauben." 


fell into idolatry. The identity of the heathens and Christians 
before God is therefore altogether vague ; what the heathens 
have in common with the Christians if indeed we consent to 
be so liberal as to admit anything in common between them 
is not that which is specifically Christian, not that which con 
stitutes faith. In whatsoever the Christians are Christians, 
therein they are distinguished from the heathens ;* and they 
are Christians in virtue of their special knowledge of God ; 
thus their mark of distinction is God. Speciality is the salt 
which first gives a flavour to the common being. What a being 
is in special, is the being itself; he alone knows me, who knows 
me in specie. Thus the special God, God as he is an object 
to the Christians, the personal God, is alone God. And this 
God is unknown to heathens, and to unbelievers in general ; he 
does not exist for them. He is, indeed, said to exist for the 
heathens ; but mediately, on condition that they cease to be 
heathens, and become Christians. Faith makes man partial 
and narrow ; it deprives him of the freedom and ability to esti 
mate duly what is different from himself. Faith is imprisoned 
within itself. It is true that the philosophical, or, in general, 
any scientific theorist, also limits himself by a definite system. 
But theoretic limitation, however fettered, short-sighted and 
narrow-hearted it may be, has still a freer character than faith, 
because the domain of theory is in itself a free one, because here 
the ground of decision is the nature of things, argument, reason. 
But faith refers the decision to conscience and interest, to the 
instinctive desire of happiness; for its object is a special, per 
sonal Being, urging himself on recognition, and making salva 
tion dependent on that recognition. 

Faith gives man a peculiar sense of his own dignity and 
importance. The believer finds himself distinguished above 
other men, exalted above the natural man ; he knows himself 
to be a person of distinction, in the possession of peculiar pri 
vileges ; believers are aristocrats, unbelievers plebeians. God 
is this distinction and pre-eminence of believers above unbe 
lievers, personified.f Because faith represents man's own 

* " If I wish to be a Christian, I must believe and do what other people 
do not believe or do." Luther (T. xvi. p. 569). 

f Celsus makes it a reproach to the Christians that they boast : " Est Deus 
et post ilium nos." (Origenes adv. Cels. ed. Hoeschelius. Aug. Vind. 1605, 
p. 182.) 


nature as that of another being, the believer does not con 
template his dignity immediately in himself, but in this sup 
posed distinct person. The consciousness of his own pre 
eminence presents itself as a consciousness of this person ; he 
has the sense of his own dignity in this divine personality.* 
As the servant feels himself honoured in the dignity of his 
master, nay, fancies himself greater than a free, independent 
man of lower rank than his master, so it is with the believer.f 
He denies all merit in himself, merely that he may leave all 
merit to his Lord, because his own desire of honour is satisfied 
in the honour of his Lord. Faith is arrogant, but it is distin 
guished from natural arrogance in this, that it clothes its feel 
ing of superiority, its pride, in the idea of another person, for 
whom the believer is an object of peculiar favour. This distinct 
person, however, is simply his own hidden self, his personified, 
contented desire of happiness : for he has no other qualities 
than these, that he is the benefactor, the Redeemer, the Saviour, 
qualities in which the believer has reference only to himself, 
to his own eternal salvation. In fact, we have here the charac 
teristic principle of religion, that it changes that which is natu 
rally active into the passive. The heathen elevates himself, the 
Christian feels himself elevated. The Christian converts into 
a matter of feeling, of receptivity, what to the heathen is a mat 
ter of spontaneity. The humility of the believer is an inverted 
arrogance, an arrogance none the less because it has not the 
appearance, the external characteristics of arrogance. He feels 
himself pre-eminent : this pre-eminence, however, is not a result 
of his activity, but a matter of grace ; he has been made pre 
eminent ; he can do nothing towards it himself. He does not 
make himself the end of his own activity, but the end, the ob 
ject of God. 

Faith is essentially determinate, specific. God according to 
the specific view taken of him by faith, is alone the true God. 
This Jesus, such as I conceive him, is the Christ, the true, sole 

* " I am proud and exulting on account of my blessedness and the for 
giveness of my sins, but through what ? Through the glory and pride 
of another, namely, the Lord Christ." Luther (T. ii. p. 344). " He that 
glorieth let him glory in the Lord." 1 Cor. i. 31. 

t A military officer who had been adjutant of the Russian general 
Miinriich said : " When I was his adjutant I felt myself greater than now 
that I command." 


prophet, the only begotten Son of God. And this particular 
conception thou must believe, if thou wouldst not forfeit thy 
salvation. Faith is imperative. It is therefore necessary it 
lies in the nature of faith that it be fixed as dogma. Dogma 
only gives a formula to what faith had already on its tongue or 
in its mind. That when once a fundamental dogma is esta 
blished, it gives rise to more special questions, which must also 
be thrown into a dogmatic form, that hence there results a 
burdensome multiplicity of dogmas, this is certainly a fatal 
consequence, but does not do away with the necessity that faith 
should fix itself in dogmas, in order that every one may know 
definitely what he must believe and how he can \vin salvation. 

That which in the present day, even from the stand-point 
of believing Christianity, is rejected, is compassionated as 
an aberration, as a misinterpretation, or is even ridiculed, is 
purely a consequence of the inmost nature of faith. Faith 
is essentially illiberal, prejudiced; for it is concerned not only 
with individual salvation, but with the honour of God. And 
just as we are solicitous as to whether we show due honour to 
a superior in rank, so it is with faith. The apostle Paul is 
absorbed in the glory, the honour, the merits of Christ. 
Dogmatic, exclusive, scrupulous particularity, lies in the nature 
of faith. In food and other matters, indifferent to faith, it is 
certainly liberal ; but by no means in relation to objects of 
faith. He who is not for Christ is against him; that which is 
not Christian is antichristian. But what is Christian? This 
must be absolutely determined, this cannot be free. If the 
articles of faith are set down in books which proceed from 
various authors, handed down in the form of incidental, 
mutually contradictory, occasional dicta, then dogmatic de 
marcation and definition are even an external necessity. 
Christianity owes its perpetuation to the dogmatic formulas of 
the Church, 

It is only the believing unbelief of modern times which hides 
itself behind the Bible, and opposes the biblical dicta to dog 
matic definitions, in order that it may set itself free from the 
limits of dogma by arbitrary exegesis. But faith has already 
disappeared, is become indifferent, when the determinate tenets 
of faith are felt as limitations. It is only religious indifference 
under the appearance of religion that makes the Bible, which 
in its nature and origin is indefinite, a standard of faith, and 
under the pretext of believing only the essential, retains 

M 3 


nothing which deserves the name of faith; for example, sub 
stituting for the distinctly characterized Son of God, held up 
by the Church, the vague negative definition of a Sinless Man, 
who can claim to be the Son of God in a sense applicable to no 
other being, in a word, of a man, whom one may not trust 
oneself to call either a man or a God. But that it is merely 
indifference which makes a hiding-place for itself behind the 
Bible, is evident from the fact that even what stands in the 
Bible, if it contradicts the stand-point of the present day, is 
regarded as not obligatory, or is even denied; nay, actions 
which are essentially Christian, which are the logical conse 
quences of faith, such as the separation of believers from un 
believers, are now designated as unchristian. 

The Church was perfectly justified in adjudging damnation 
to heretics and unbelievers,* for this condemnation is involved 
in the nature of faith. Faith at first appears to be only ^ln 
unprejudiced separation of believers from unbelievers; but this 
separation is a highly critical distinction. The believer has 
God for him, the unbeliever, against him; it is only as a pos 
sible believer that the unbeliever has God not against him; 
and therein precisely lies the ground of the requirement that 
he should leave the ranks of unbelief. But that which has God 
against it is worthless, rejected, reprobate; for that which has 
God against it is itself against God. To believe, is synony 
mous with goodness; not to believe, with wickedness. Faith, 
narrow and prejudiced, refers all unbelief to the moral disposi 
tion. In its view the unbeliever is an enemy to Christ out of 
obduracy, out of wickedness. f Hence faith has fellowship with 
believers only; unbelievers it rejects. It is well-disposed 
towards believers, but ill-disposed towards unbelievers. In faith 
there lies a malignant principle. 

It is owing to the egoism, the vanity, the self-complacency 
of Christians, that they can see the motes in the faith of non- 
christian nations, but cannot perceive the beam in their own. 
It is only in the mode in which faith embodies itself that 
Christians differ from the followers of other religions. The 
distinction is founded only on climate or on natural tempera- 

* To faith, so long as it has any vital heat, any character, the heretic is 
always on a level with the unbeliever, with the atheist. 

f Already in the New Testament the idea of disobedience is associated 
with unbelief. " The cardinal wickedness is unbelief." Luther (xiii. p. 647). 


ment. A warlike or ardently sensuous people will naturally 
attest its distinctive religious character by deeds, by force of 
arms. But the nature of faith as such is everywhere the same. 
It is essential to faith to condemn, to anathematize. All 
blessings, all good it accumulates on itself, on its God, as the 
lover on his beloved; all curses, all hardship and evil it casts 
on unbelief. The believer is blessed, well-pleasing to God, a 
partaker of everlasting felicity; the unbeliever is accursed, re 
jected of God and abjured by men: for what God rejects man 
must not receive, must not indulge ; that would be a criticism 
of the divine judgment. The Turks exterminate unbelievers 
with fire and sword, the Christians with the flames of hell. But 
the fires of the other world blaze forth into this, to glare through 
the night of unbelief. As the believer already here below 
anticipates the joys of heaven, so the flames of the abyss must 
be seen to flash here as a foretaste of the awaiting hell, at 
least in the moments when faith attains its highest enthusiasm.* 
It is true that Christianity ordains no persecution of heretics, 
still less conversion by force of arms. But so far as faith 
anathematizes, it necessarily generates hostile dispositions, 
the dispositions out of which the persecution of heretics arises. 
To love the man who does not believe in Christ, is a sin against 
Christ, is to love the enemy of Christ.f That which God, 
which Christ does not love, man must not love; his love would 
be a contradiction of the divine will, consequently a sin. God, 
it is true, loves all men; but only when and because they are 
Christians, or at least may be and desire to be such. To be a 
Christian is to be beloved by God; not to be a Christian is to 
be hated by God, an object of the divine anger. { The 
Christian must therefore love only Christians others only 
as possible Christians; he must only love what faith hallows 
and blesses. Faith is the baptism of love. Love to man as 

* God himself by no means entirely reserves the punishment of blas 
phemers, of unbelievers, of heretics, for the future; he often punishes them 
in this life also, " for the benefit of Christendom and the strengthening of 
faith:" as, for example, the heretics Cerinthus and Arius. See Luther 
(T. xiv.p. 13). 

f " Si quis spiritum. Dei habet, illius versiculi recordetur : Nonne qui 
oderunt te, Domine, oderam ?" (Psal. cxxxix. 21.) Bernhardus, Epist. (193) 
ad magist. Yvonem Cardin. 

1 " Qui Christum negat, negatur a Christo." Cyprian (Epst. E. 73 
18. Edit. Gersdorf.). 


man is only natural love. Christian love is supernatural, 
glorified, sanctified love; therefore it loves only what is 
Christian. The maxim, "Love your enemies," has reference 
only to personal enemies, not to public enemies, the enemies 
of God, the enemies of faith, unbelievers. He who loves the 
men whom Christ denies, does not believe Christ, denies his 
Lord and God. Faith abolishes the natural ties of humanity; 
to universal, natural unity, it substitutes a particular unity. 

Let it not be objected to this, that it is said in the Bible, 
" Judge not, that ye be not judged;" and that thus, as faith 
leaves to God the judgment, so it leaves to him the sentence of 
condemnation. This and other similar sayings have authority 
only as the private law of Christians, not as their public law ; 
belong only to ethics, not to dogmatics. It is an indication 
of indifference to faith, to introduce such sayings into the 
region of dogma. The distinction between the unbeliever and 
the man is a fruit of modern philanthropy. To faith, the man 
is merged in the believer; to it, the essential difference between 
man and the brute rests onlyron religious belief. Faith alone 
comprehends in itself all virtues which can make man pleasing 
to God ; and God is the absolute measure, his pleasure the 
highest law : the believer is thus alone the legitimate, normal 
man, man as he ought to be, man as he is recognised by God. 
Wherever we find Christians making a distinction between the 
man and the believer, there the human mind has already 
severed itself from faith; there man has value in himself, 
independently of faith. Hence faith is true, unfeigned, only 
where the specific difference of faith operates in all its severity. 
If the edge of this difference is blunted, faith itself naturally 
becomes indifferent, effete. Faith is liberal only in things 
intrinsically indifferent. The liberalism of the apostle Paul 
presupposes the acceptance of the fundamental articles of faith. 
Where everything is made to depend on the fundamental 
articles of faith, there arises the distinction between essential 
and non-essential belief. In the sphere of the non-essential 
there is no law, there you are free. But obviously it is only 
on condition of your leaving the rights of faith intact, that 
faith allows you freedom. 

It is therefore an altogether false defence to say, that faith 
leaves judgment to God. It leaves to him only the moral 
judgment with respect to faith, only the judgment as to its 


moral character, as to whether the faith of Christians be feigned 
or genuine. So far as classes are concerned, faith knows 
already whom God will place on the right hand, and whom on 
the left ; in relation to the persons who compose the classes 
faith is uncertain ; but that believers are heirs of the Eternal 
Kingdom is beyond all doubt. Apart from this, however, the 
God who distinguishes between believers and unbelievers, the 
condemning and rewarding God, is nothing else than faith 
itself. What God condemns, faith condemns, and vice versa. 
Faith is a consuming fire to its opposite.* This fire of faith 
regarded objectively, is the anger of God, or what is the same 
thing, hell ; for hell evidently has its foundation in the anger 
of God. But this hell lies in faith itself, in its sentence of 
damnation. The flames of hell are only the flashings of the 
exterminating, vindictive glance which faith casts on un 

Thus faith is essentially a spirit of partisanship. He who 
is not for Christ is against him.t Faith knows only friends 
or enemies, it understands no neutrality ; it is preoccupied 
only with itself. Faith is essentially intolerant; essentially, 
because with faith is always associated the illusion that its 
cause is the cause of God, its honour his honour. The God 
of faith is nothing else than the objective nature of faith faith 
become an object to itself. Hence in the religious conscious 
ness also the cause of faith and the cause of God. are identified. 
God himself is interested : the interest of faith is the nearest 
interest of God. " He who toucheth you," says the prophet 
Zachariah, " toucheth the apple of His eye."J That which 
wounds faith, wounds God, that which denies faith, denies 
God himself. 

Faith knows no other distinction than that between the 
service of God and the service of idols. Faith alone gives 

* Thus the apostle Paul cursed " Elymas the sorcerer" with blindness, 
because he withstood the faith. Acts xiii. 8 11. 

f Historically considered, this saying, as well as the others cited pp. 384, 
385, may be perfectly justified. But the Bible is not to be regarded as 
an historical or temporal, but as an eternal book. 

" Tenerrimam partem humani corporis nominavit, ut apertissime in- 
telligeremus, eum (Deum) tarn parva Sanctorum suorum contumelia. laedi, 
quam parvi verberis tactu humani visus acies laeditur." Salvianus, 1. 8. 
de Gubern. Dei. 


honour to God ; unbelief withdraws from God that which is 
due to him. Unbelief is an injury to God, religious high 
treason. The heathens worship demons ; their gods are devils. 
" I say that the things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they 
sacrifice to devils, and not to God : and I would not that ye 
should have fellowship with devils."* But the devil is the 
negation of God ; he hates God, wills that there should be no 
God. Thus faith is blind to what there is of goodness and 
truth lying at the foundation of heathen worship; it sees in 
everything which does not do homage to its God, i.e., to itself, 
a worship of idols, and in the worship of idols only the work 
of the devil. Faith must therefore, even in feeling, be only 
negative towards this negation of God : it is by inherent 
necessity intolerant towards its opposite, and in general towards 
whatever does not thoroughly accord with itself. Tolerance 
on its part would be intolerance towards God, who has the 
right to unconditional, undivided sovereignty. Nothing ought 
to subsist, nothing to exist, which does not acknowledge 
God, which does not acknowledge faith : " That at the name 
of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and 
things on earth, and things under the earth; and that every 
tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory 
of the Father." f Therefore faith postulates a future, a world 
where faith has no longer an opposite, or where at least this 
opposite exists only in order to enhance the self-complacency 
of triumphant faith. Hell sweetens the joys of happy be 
lievers. " The elect will come forth to behold the torments 
of the ungodly, and at this spectacle they will not be smitten 
with sorrow ; on the contrary, while they see the unspeakable 
sufferings of the ungodly, they, intoxicated with joy, will thank 
God for their own salvation."! 

Faith is the opposite of love. Love recognises virtue even 

* 1 Cor. x. 20. 

f Phil. ii. 10, 11. " When the name of Jesus Christ is heard, all that is 
unbelieving and ungodly in heaven or on earth shall be terrified." Luther 
(T. xvi. p. 322). " In morte pagani Christianus gloriatur, quia Christus 
glorificatur," Divus Bernardus. Sermo exhort, ad Milites Templi. 
J Petrus L. 1. iv. dist. 50, c. 4. But this passage is by no means a de 
claration of Peter Lombard himself. He is far too modest, timid and de 
pendent on the authorities of Christianity, to have ventured to advance 
such a tenet on his own account. No ! This position is a universal decla 
ration, a characteristic expression of Christian, of believing love, The doc- 


in sin, truth in error. It is only since the power of faith has 
been supplanted by the power of the natural unity of mankind, 
the power of reason, of humanity, that truth has been seen 
even in polytheism, in idolatry generally, or at least that 
there has been any attempt to explain on positive grounds 
what faith, in its bigotry, derives only from the devil. Hence 
love is reconcilable with reason alone, not with faith ; for as 
reason, so also love is free, universal, in its nature ; whereas 
faith is narrow-hearted, limited. Only where reason rules, does 
universal love rule ; reason is itself nothing else than universal 
love. It was faith, not love, not reason, which invented Hell. 
To love, Hell is a horror ; to reason, an absurdity. It would 
be a pitiable mistake to regard Hell as a mere aberration of 
faith, a false faith. Hell stands already in the Bible. Faith 
is everywhere like itself; at least positive religious faith, faith 
in the sense in which it is here taken, and must be taken 
unless we would mix with it the elements of reason, of culture, 
a mixture which indeed renders the character of faith 

Thus if faith does not contradict Christianity, neither do 
those dispositions which result from faith, neither do the 
actions which result from those dispositions. Faith condemns, 
anathematizes ; all the actions, all the dispositions, which con 
tradict love, humanity, reason, accord with faith. All the 
horrors of Christian religious history, which our believers aver 
not to be due to Christianity, have truly arisen out of Chris 
tianity, because they have arisen out of faith. This repudiation 
of them is indeed a necessary consequence of faith ; for faith 
claims for itself only what is good, everything bad it casts on the 
shoulders of unbelief, or of misbelief, or of men in general. But 
this very denial of faith that it is itself to blame for the evil in 
Christianity, is a striking proof that it is really the originator 
of that evil, because it is a proof of the narrowness, partiality, 

trine of some Fathers of the church, e.g. of Origen and Gregory of Nyssa, 
that the punishment of the damned would have an end, sprung not out of 
Christian or Church doctrine, but out of Platonism. Hence the doctrine 
that the punishment of hell is finite, was rejected not only by the Catholic 
but also hy the Protestant church. (Augsb. Confess, art. 17.) A precious 
example of the exclusive, misanthropical narrowness of Christian love, is the 
passage cited from Buddeus by Strauss (Christl. Glaubensl. B. ii. s. 547), 
according to which not infants in general, but those of Christians exclusively, 
would have a share in the divine grace and blessings if they died unbaptized. 


and intolerance, which render it well-disposed only to itself, to 
its own adherents, but ill-disposed, unjust towards others. 
According to faith, the good which Christians do, is not done 
by the man, but by the Christian, by faith ; but the evil which 
Christians do, is not done by the Christian, but by the man. 
The evil which faith has wrought in Christendom thus cor 
responds to the nature of faith, of faith as it is described in 
the oldest and most sacred records of Christianity, of the 
Bible. " If any man preach any other gospel unto you than 
that ye have received, let him be accursed,"* avaQt/ma <mo, 
Gal. i. 9. "Be ye not unequally yoked together Mdth 
unbelievers : for what fellowship hath righteousness with 
unrighteousness ? and what communion hath light with dark 
ness ? And what concord hath Christ with Belial ? or what 
part hath he that believeth with an infidel ? And what agree 
ment hath the temple of God with idols ? for ye are the temple 
of the living God ; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and 
walk in them ; and I will be their God, and they shall be my 
people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye 
separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and 
I will receive you," 2 Cor. iv. 14 17. " When the Lord Jesus 
shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, in 
flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and 
that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ : who shall 
be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of 
the Lord, and from the glory of his power ; when he shall come 
to be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that 
believe," 2 Thess. i. 7 10. " Without faith it is impossible 
to please God," Heb. xi. 6. " God so loved the world, that he 
gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him, 
should not perish, but have everlasting life," John iii. 16. 
" Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the 
flesh is of God : and every spirit that confesseth not that 
Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God : and this is 
the spirit of antichrist," 1 John iv. 2, 8. " Who is a liar, but 
he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist 
that denieth the Father and the Son," 1 John ii. 22. " Who 
soever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, 
hath not God : he that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he 

* "Fugite, abhorrete hunc doctorem." But why should I flee from 
him? because the anger, i.e., the curse of God rests on his head. 


hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto 
you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your 
house, neither bid him God speed : for he that biddeth him 
God speed, is partaker of his evil deeds," 2 John ix. 11. 
Thus speaks the apostle of love. But the love which he 
celebrates is only the brotherly love of Christians. " God is 
the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe," 
1 Tim. iv. 10. A fatal " specially !" " Let us do good unto 
all men, especially unto them who are of the household of 
faith," Gal. vi. 10. An equally pregnant "especially!" "A 
man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition 
reject; knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, 
being condemned of himself,"* Titus iii. 10, 11. "He that 
believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that 
believeth not the Son shall not see life ; but the wrath of God 
abideth on him,"f John iii. 30. "And whosoever shall offend 
one of these little ones that believe in me, it were better for him 
that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were 
cast into the sea," Mark ix. 42 ; Matt, xviii. 6. " He that 
believeth and is baptized shall be saved ; but he that believeth 
not shall be damned," Mark xvi. 16. The distinction between 
faith as it is expressed in the Bible and faith as it has exhibited 
itself in later times, is only the distinction between the bud and 
the plant. In the bud I cannot so plainly see what is obvious 
in the matured plant; and yet the plant lay already in the bud. 
But that which is obvious, sophists of course will not con 
descend to recognise ; they confine themselves to the distinction 
between explicit and implicit existence, wilfully overlooking 
their essential identity. 

Faith necessarily passes into hatred, hatred into persecution, 
where the power of faith meets with no contradiction, where it 
does not find itself in collision with a power foreign to faith, 

* There necessarily results from this a sentiment which e.g. Cyprian 
expresses: " Si vero ubique haeretici niliil aliud quam adversarii et antichrist! 
nominantur, si vitandi et perversi et a semet ipsis damnati prommtiantur; 
quale est ut videantur damnandi a nobis non esse, quos constat apostolica 
contestatioiie a semet ipsis damnatos esse." Epistol. 74. (Edit, cit.) 

f The passage Luke ix. 56, as the parallel of which is cited John iii. 17, 
receives its completion and rectification in the immediately following v. 18: 
" He that believeth in him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is 
condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only 
begotten Son of God," 


tlie power of love, of humanity, of the sense of justice. Faith 
left to itself necessarily exalts itself above the laws of natural 
morality. The doctrine of faith is the doctrine of duty 
towards God, the highest duty of faith. By how much God 
is higher than man, by so much higher are duties to God than 
duties towards man ; and duties towards God necessarily come 
into collision with common human duties. God is not only 
believed in, conceived as the universal being, the Father of 
men, as Love : such faith is the faith of love ; he is also 
represented as a personal being, a being by himself. And so 
far as God is regarded as separate from man, as an indivi 
dual being, so far are duties to God separated from duties 
to man: faith is, in the religious sentiment, separated from 
morality, from love.* Let it not be replied that faith in God 
is faith in love, in goodness itself; and that thus faith is itself 
an expression of a morally good disposition. In the idea 
of personality, ethical definitions vanish ; they are only 
collateral things, mere accidents. The chief thing is the 
subject, the divine Ego. Love to God himself, since it is love 
to a personal being, is not a moral but a personal love. Innu 
merable devout hymns breathe nothing but love to the Lord ; 
but in this love there appears no spark of an exalted moral 
idea or disposition. 

Faith is the highest to itself, because its object is a divine 
personality. Hence it makes salvation dependent on itself, 
not on the fulfilment of common human duties. But that 
which has eternal salvation as its consequence, necessarily 
becomes in the mind of man the chief thing. As therefore 
inwardly morality is subordinate to faith, so it must also be 
outwardly, practically subordinate, nay sacrificed, to faith. It is 

* Faith, it is true, is not " without good works," nay, according to 
Luther's declaration, it is as impossible to separate faith from works as to 
separate heat and light from fire. Nevertheless, and this is the main point, 
good works do not belong to the article of justification before God, i.e., men 
are justified and " saved without works, through faith alone." 'Faith is 
thus expressly distinguished from good works; faith alone avails before 
God, not good works; faith alone is the cause of salvation, not virtue: 
thus faith alone has substantial significance, virtue only accidental; i.e., 
faith alone has religious significance, divine authority and not morality. It 
is well known that many have gone so far as to maintain that good works 
are not necessary, but are even "injurious, obstructive to salvation." Quite 


inevitable that there should be actions in which faith exhibits 
itself in distinction from morality, or rather in contradiction 
with it ; actions which are morally bad, but which according 
to faith are laudable, because they have in view the advantage 
of faith. All salvation depends on faith : it follows that all 
again depends on the salvation of faith. If faith is endangered, 
eternal salvation and the honour of God are endangered. 
Hence faith absolves from everything ; for, strictly considered, 
it is the sole subjective good in man, as God is the sole good 
and positive being : the highest commandment therefore is : 

For the very reason that there is no natural, inherent con 
nexion between faith and the moral disposition, that, on the 
contrary, it lies in the nature of faith that it is indifferent to 
moral duties,t that it sacrifices the love of man to the honour 
of God, for this reason it is required that faith should have 
good works as its consequence, that it should prove itself by 
love. Faith destitute of love, or indifferent to love, contradicts 
the reason, the natural sense of right in man, moral feeling, 
on which love immediately urges itself as a law. Hence faith, 
in contradiction with its intrinsic character, has limits imposed 
on it by morality : a faith which effects nothing good, which 
does not attest itself by love, comes to be held as not a true 
and living faith. But this limitation does not arise out of 
faith itself. It is the power of love, a power independent of 
faith, which gives laws to it; for moral character is here 

*" Causa fidei .... exorbitantem et irregularem prorsus favorem habet 
et ab omni jure deviare, omnem captivare rationem, nee judiciis laicorum 
ratione corrupta utentium subjecta creditur. Etenim Causa fidei ad multa 
obligat, alias sunt voluntaria, multa, imo infinita remittit, quse alias 
prsecepta; quse alius valide gesta annullat, et contra quse alias nulla et 
irrita, fiunt valida .... ex jure canonico." J. H. Boehmeri (Jus Eccles. 
lib. v. tit. vii. 32. See also 44 et seq.). 

f " Placetta de Fide, ii. II ne faut pas chercher dans la nature des choses 
memes la veritable cause de 1'inseparabilite de la foi et de la piete. II faut, 
si je ne me trompe, la chercher uniquement dans la volonte de Dieu .... 
Bene facit et nobiscum sentit, cum illam conjunctionem (i.e., of sanctity 
or virtue with faith) a benifica Dei voluntate et dispositione repetit; 
nee id novum est ejus inventum, sed cum antiquioribus Theologis 
nostris commune." J. A. Ernesti. (Vindicise arbitrii divini. Opusc. 
theol. p. 297.) " Si quis dixerit .... qui fidem sine charitate habet, 
Christianum non esse, anathema sit." Concil. Trid. (Sess. vi. de Justif. 
can. 28). 


made the criterion of the genuineness of faith, the truth of faith 
is made dependent on the truth of ethics : a relation which 
however is subversive of faith. 

Faith does indeed make man happy ; but thus much is cer 
tain : it infuses into him no really moral dispositions. If it 
ameliorate man, if it have moral dispositions as its consequence, 
this proceeds solely from the inward conviction of the irrever 
sible reality of morals : a conviction independent of religious 
faith. It is morality alone, and by no means faith, that cries 
out in the conscience of the believer : thy faith is nothing, if 
it does not make thee good. It is not to be denied that the 
assurance of eternal salvation, the forgiveness of sins, the sense 
of favour and release from all punishment, inclines man to do 
good. The man who has this confidence possesses all things ; 
he is happy ;* he becomes indifferent to the good things of this 
world ; no envy, no avarice, no ambition, no sensual desire, can 
enslave him ; everything earthly vanishes in the prospect of 
heavenly grace and eternal bliss. But in him good works do 
not proceed from essentially virtuous dispositions. It is not 
love, not the object of love, man, the basis of all morality, which 
is the motive of his good works. No ! he does good not for 
the sake of goodness itself, not for the sake of man, but for the 
sake of God ; out of gratitude to God, who has done all for 
him, and for whom therefore he must on his side do all that 
lies in his power. He forsakes sin, because it wounds God, 
his Saviour, his Benefactor, t The idea of virtue is here the 
idea of compensatory sacrifice. God has sacrificed himself for 
man; therefore man must sacrifice himself to God. The 
greater the sacrifice the better the deed. The more anything 
contradicts man and Nature, the greater the abnegation, the 
greater is the virtue. This merely negative idea of goodness 
has been especially realized and developed by Catholicism. Its 
highest moral idea is that of sacrifice ; hence the high signifi 
cance attached to the denial of sexual love, to virginity. 

* See on this subject Luther, e.g. T. xiv. p. 286. 

f " Therefore good works must follow faith, as an expression of thank 
fulness to God." Apol. der Augs. Conf. art, 3. " How can I make a 
return to thee for thy deeds of love in works ? yet it is something accept 
able to thee, if I quench and tame the lusts of the flesh, that they may not 
anew inflame my heart with fresh sins." " If sin bestirs itself, I am not 
overcome; a glance at the cross of Jesus destroys its charms." Gesangbuch. 
der Evangel. Briidergemeinen (Moravian Hymn-book). 


Chastity, or rather virginity, is the characteristic virtue of the 
Catholic faith, for this reason, that it has no basis in Nature. 
It is the most fanatical, transcendental, fantastical virtue, 
the virtue of supranaturalistic faith ; to faith, the highest 
virtue, but in itself no virtue at all. Thus faith makes 
that a virtue which intrinsically, substantially, is no virtue : it 
has therefore no sense of virtue ; it must necessarily depre 
ciate true virtue because it so exalts a merely apparent virtue, 
because it is guided by no idea but that of the negation, the 
contradiction of human nature. 

But although the deeds opposed to love which mark Chris 
tian religious history, are in accordance with Christianity, and 
its antagonists are therefore right in imputing to it the horrible 
actions resulting from dogmatic creeds ; those deeds nevertheless 
at the same time contradict Christianity, because Christianity 
is not only a religion of faith, but of love also, pledges us not 
only to faith, but to love. Uncharitable actions, hatred of 
heretics, at once accord and clash with Christianity ? how is that 
possible ? Perfectly. Christianity sanctions both the actions 
that spring out of love, and the actions that spring from faith 
without love. If Christianity had made love only its law, its 
adherents would be right, the horrors of Christian religious 
history could not be imputed to it ; if it had made faith only 
its law, the reproaches of its antagonists would be uncondition 
ally, unrestrictedly true. But Christianity has not made love 
free ; it has not raised itself to the height of accepting love as 
absolute. And it has not given this freedom, nay, cannot give 
it, because it is a religion, and hence subjects love to the 
dominion of faith. Love is only the exoteric, faith the esoteric 
doctrine of Christianity ; love is only the morality, faith the 
religion of the Christian religion. 

God is love. This is the sublimest dictum of Christianity. 
But the contradiction of faith and love is contained in the very 
proposition. Love is only a predicate, God the subject. What, 
then, is this subject in distinction from love ? And I must 
necessarily ask this question, make this distinction. The 
necessity of the distinction would be done away with only if it 
were said conversely : Love is God, love is the absolute being. 
Thus love would take the position of the substance. In the 
proposition " God is love," the subject is the darkness in which 
faith shrouds itself; the predicate is the light, which first illu 
minates the intrinsically dark subject. In the predicate I affirm 


love, in the subject faith. Love does not alone fill my soul: I 
leave a place open for my uncharitableness by thinking of God 
as a subject in distinction from the predicate. It is therefore 
inevitable that at one moment I lose the thought of love, at 
another the thought of God, that at one moment I sacrifice the 
personality of God to the divinity of love, at another the divinity 
of love to the personality of God. The history of Christianity 
has given sufficient proof of this contradiction. Catholicism, 
especially, has celebrated Love as the essential deity with so 
much enthusiasm, that to it the personality of God has been 
entirely lost in this love. But at the same time it has sacri 
ficed love to the majesty of faith. Faith clings to the self-sub 
sistence of God ; love does away with it. " God is love," 
means, God is nothing by himself: he who loves, gives up his 
egoistical independence ; he makes what he loves indispensable, 
essential to his existence. But while Self is being sunk in the 
depths of love, the idea of the Person rises up again and dis 
turbs the harmony of the divine and human nature which had 
been established by love. Faith advances with its pretensions, 
and allows only just so much to Love as belongs to a predicate 
in the ordinary sense. It does not permit love freely to unfold 
itself; it makes love the abstract, and itself the concrete, the 
fact, the basis. The love of faith is only a rhetorical figure, a 
poetical fiction of faith, faith in ecstasy. If Faith conies to 
itself, Love is fled. 

This theoretic contradiction must necessarily manifest itself 
practically. Necessarily ; for in Christianity love is tainted by 
faith, it is not free, it is not apprehended truly. A love which 
is limited by faith is an untrue love.* Love knows no law but 
itself; it is divine through itself; it needs not the sanction of 
faith ; it is its own basis. The love which is bound by faith, 
is a narrow-hearted, false love, contradicting the idea of love, 
i.e., self- contradictory, a love which has only a semblance of 
holiness, for it hides in itself the hatred that belongs to faith ; 
it is only benevolent so long as faith is not injured. Hence, in 
this contradiction with itself, in order to retain the semblance 
of love, it falls into the most diabolical sophisms, as we see in 

* The only limitation which is not contradictory to the nature of love is 
the self-limitation of love by reason, intelligence. The love which despises 
the stringency, the law of the intelligence, is theoretically false and prac 
tically noxious. 


Augustine's apology for the persecution of heretics. Love is 
limited by faith ; hence it does not regard even the uncharitable 
actions which faith suggests as in contradiction with itself; it 
interprets the deeds of hatred which are committed for the sake 
of faith as deeds of love. And it necessarily falls into such 
contradictions, because the limitation of love by faith is itself 
a contradiction. If it once is subjected to this limitation, it 
has given up its own judgment, its inherent measure and crite 
rion, its self-subsistence ; it is delivered up without power of 
resistance to the promptings of faith. 

Here we have again an example, that much which is not 
found in the letter of the Bible, is nevertheless there in prin 
ciple. We find the same contradictions in the Bible as in 
Augustine, as in Catholicism generally; only that in the latter 
they are definitely declared, they are developed into a conspi 
cuous, and therefore revolting existence. The Bible curses 
through faith, blesses through love. But the only love it knows 
is a love founded on faith. Thus here already it is a love which 
curses, an unreliable love, a love which gives me no guarantee 
that it will not turn into hatred; for if I do not acknow 
ledge the articles of faith I am out of the sphere of love, a child 
of hell, an object of anathema, of the anger of God, to whom 
the existence of unbelievers is a vexation, a thorn in the eye. 
Christian love has not overcome hell, because it has not over 
come faith. Love is in itself unbelieving, faith unloving. And 
love is unbelieving because it knows nothing more divine than 
itself, because it believes only in itself as absolute truth. 

Christian love is already signalized as a particular, limited 
love, by the very epithet, Christian. But love is in its nature 
universal. So long as Christian love does not renounce its 
qualification of Christian, does not make love, simply, its 
highest law, so long is it a love which is injurious to the sense 
of truth, for the very office of love is to abolish the distinction 
between Christianity and so-called heathenism; so long is it 
a love which by its particularity is in contradiction with the 
nature of love, an abnormal, loveless love, which has therefore 
long been justly an object of sarcasm. True love is sufficient 
to itself; it needs no special title, no authority. Love is the 
universal law of intelligence and Nature ; it is nothing else 
than the realization of the unity of the species through the 
medium of moral sentiment. To found this love on the name 
of a person, is only possible by the association of superstitious 


ideas, either of a religious or speculative character. For with 
superstition is always associated particularism, and with par 
ticularism, fanaticism. Love can only be founded on the 
unity of the species, the unity of intelligence on the nature 
of mankind ; then only is it a well-grounded love, safe in its 
principle, guaranteed, free, for it is fed by the original source 
of love, out of which the love of Christ himself arose. The love 
of Christ was itself a derived love. He loved us not out of 
himself, by virtue of his own authority, but by virtue of our 
common human nature. A love which is based on his person 
is a particular, exclusive love, which extends only so far as the 
acknowledgment of this person extends, a love which does not 
rest on the proper ground of love. Are we to love each other 
because Christ loved us? Such love would be an affected, 
imitative love. Can we truly love each other only if we love 
Christ? Is Christ the cause of love? Is he not rather the 
apostle of love? Is not the ground of his love the unity of 
human nature? Shall I love Christ more than mankind? Is 
not such love a chimerical love? Can I step beyond the idea 
of the species? Can I love anything higher than humanity? 
What ennobled Christ was love ; whatever qualities he had, he 
held in fealty to love ; he was not the proprietor of love, as he 
is represented to be in all superstitious conceptions. The idea 
of love is an independent idea ; I do not first deduce it from 
the life of Christ ; on the contrary, I revere that life only 
because I find it accordant with the law, the idea of love. 

This is already proved historically by the fact that the idea 
of love was by no means first introduced into the consciousness 
of mankind with andby Christianity, is by no means peculiarly 
Christian. The horrors of the Roman Empire present them 
selves with striking significance in company with the appear 
ance of this idea. The empire of policy which united men 
after a manner corresponding with its own idea, was coming to 
its necessary end. Political unity is a unity of force. The 
despotism of Rome must turn in upon itself, destroy itself. But 
it was precisely through this catastrophe of political existence 
that man released himself entirely from the heart- stifling toils 
of politics. In the place of Rome, appeared the idea of 
humanity; to the idea of dominion succeeded the idea of love. 
Even the Jews, by imbibing the principle of humanity con 
tained in Greek culture, had by this time mollified their 
malignant religious separatism. Philo celebrates love as the 


highest virtue. The extinction of national differences lay in 
the idea of humanity itself. Thinking minds had very early 
overstepped the civil and political separation of man from man. 
Aristotle distinguishes the man from the slave, and places the 
slave, as a man, on a level with his master, uniting them in 
friendship. Epictetus, the slave, was a Stoic; Antoninus, the 
emperor, was a Stoic also * thus did philosophy unite men. The 
Stoics taught* that man was not born for his own sake, but 
for the sake of others, i.e., for love : a principle which implies 
infinitely more than the celebrated dictum of the Emperor 
Antoninus, which enjoined the love of enemies. The practical 
principle of the Stoics is so far the principle of love. The 
world is to them one city, men its citizens. Seneca, in the 
sublimest sayings, extols love, clemency, humanity, especially 
towards slaves. Thus political rigour and patriotic narrowness 
were on the wane. 

Christianity was a peculiar manifestation of these human 
tendencies ; a popular, consequently a religious, and certainly 
a most intense manifestation of this new principle of love. 
That which elsewhere made itself apparent in the process of 
culture, expressed itself here as religious feeling, as a matter 
of faith. Christianity thus reduced a general unity to a par 
ticular one, it made love collateral to faith ; and by this 
means it placed itself in contradiction with universal love. 
The unity was not referred to its true origin. National differ 
ences indeed disappeared ; but in their place difference of faith, 
the opposition of Christian and un- Christian, more vehement 
than a national antagonism and also more malignant, made its 
appearance in history. 

All love founded on a special historical phenomenon con 
tradicts, as has been said, the nature of love, which endures 
no limits, which triumphs over all particularity. Man is to be 
loved for man's sake. Man is an object of love because he is 
an end in himself, because he is a rational and loving being. 
This is the law of the species, the law of the intelligence. Love 
should be immediate, undetermined by anything else than its ob 
ject; nay, only as such is it love. But if I interpose between 
my fellow-man and myself the idea of an" individuality, in whom 
the idea of the species is supposed to be already realized, I 

* The Peripatetics also ; who founded love, even that towards all men, 
not on a particular, religious, but a natural principle. 



annihilate the very soul of love, I disturb the unity by the idea 
of a third external to us ; for in that case my fellow-man is an 
object of love to me only on account of his resemblance or re 
lation to this model, not for his own sake. Here all the con 
tradictions reappear which we have in the personality of God, 
where the idea of the personality by itself, without regard to the 
qualities which render it worthy of love and reverence, fixes 
itself in the consciousness and feelings. Love is the subjec 
tive reality of the species, as reason is its objective reality. In 
love, in reason, the need of an intermediate person disappears. 
Christ is nothing but an image, under which the unity of the 
species has impressed itself on the popular consciousness. 
Christ loved men : he wished to bless and unite them all without 
distinction of sex, age, rank, or nationality. Christ is the love 
of mankind to itself embodied in an image in accordance 
with the nature of religion as we have developed it or con 
templated as a person, but a person who (we mean, of course, 
as a religious object) has only the significance of an image, 
who is only ideal. For this reason love is pronounced to be the 
characteristic mark of the disciples. But love, as has been 
said, is nothing else than the active proof, the realization of 
the unity of the race, through the medium of the moral dispo 
sition. The species is not an abstraction; it exists in feeling, 
in the moral sentiment, in the energy of love. It is the species 
which infuses love into me. A loving heart is the heart of the 
species throbbing in the individual. Thus Christ, as the 
consciousness of love, is the consciousness of the species. We 
are all one in Christ. Christ is the consciousness of our 
identity. He therefore who loves man for the sake of man, 
who rises to the love of the species, to universal love, adequate 
to the nature of the species,* he is a Christian, is Christ him 
self. He does what Christ did, what made Christ Christ. 
Thus, where there arises the consciousness of the species as a 
species, the idea of humanity as a whole, Christ disappears, 
without, however, his true nature disappearing ; for he was the 
substitute for the consciousness of the species, the image under 
which it was made present to the people, and became the law 
of the popular life. 

* Active love is and must of course always be particular and limited, i.e., 
directed to one's neighbour. But it is yet in its nature universal, since it 
loves man for man's sake, in the name of the race. Christian love, on the 
contrary, is in its nature exclusive. 



IN the contradiction between Faith and Love which has just 
been exhibited, we see the practical, palpable ground of 
necessity that we should raise ourselves above Christianity, 
above the peculiar stand-point of all religion. We have 
shown that the substance and object of religion is altogether 
human ; we have shown that divine wisdom is human wisdom ; 
that the secret of theology is anthropology ; that the absolute 
mind is the so-called finite subjective mind. But religion is 
not conscious that its elements are human ; on the contrary, it 
places itself in opposition to the human, or at least it does not 
admit that its elements are human. The necessary turning- 
point of history is therefore the open confession, that the con 
sciousness of God is nothing else than the consciousness of 
the species ; that man can and should raise himself only above 
the limits of his individuality, and not above the laws, the 
positive essential conditions of his species ; that there is no 
other essence which man can think, dream of, imagine, feel, 
believe in, wish for, love and adore as the absolute, than the 
essence of human nature itself.* 

Our relation to religion is therefore not a merely negative, but 
a critical one; we only separate the true from the false; though 
we grant that the truth thus separated from falsehood is a new 
truth, essentially different from the old. Religion is the first form 
of self-consciousness. Religions are sacred because they are the 
traditions of the primitive self-consciousness. But that which 
in religion holds the first place, namely, God, is, as we have 
shown, in itself and according to truth, the second, for it is only 

* Including external Nature; for as man belongs to the essence of Nature, 
in opposition to common materialism; so Nature belongs to the essence of 
man, in opposition to subjective idealism; which is also the secret of our 
"absolute" philosophy, at least in relation to Nature. Only by uniting 
man with Nature can we conquer the supranaturalistic egoism of Christianity. 



the nature of man regarded objectively; and that which to re 
ligion is the second, namely, man, must therefore be consti 
tuted and declared the first. Love to man must be no derivative 
love ; it must be original. If human nature is the highest 
nature to man, then practically also the highest and first law 
must be the love of man to man. Homo homini Deus est : 
this is the great practical principle : this is the axis on 
which revolves the history of the world. The relations of 
child and parent, of husband and wife, of brother and friend, 
in general, of man to man, in short, all the moral relations 
are per se religious. Life as a whole is, in its essential, sub 
stantial relations, throughout of a divine nature. Its religious 
consecration is not first conferred by the blessing of the priest. 
But the pretension of religion is that it can hallow an object by 
its essentially external co-operation ; it thereby assumes to be 
itself the only holy power ; besides itself it knows only earthly, 
ungodly relations; hence it comes forward in order to con 
secrate them and make them holy. 

But marriage we mean, of course, marriage as the free bond 
of love* is sacred in itself, by the very nature of the union 
which is therein effected. That alone is a religious marriage, 
which is a true marriage, which corresponds to the essence of 
marriage of love. And so it is with all moral relations. Then 
only are they moral, then only are they enjoyed in amoral spirit, 
when they are regarded as sacred in themselves. True friend 
ship exists only when the boundaries of friendship are preserved 
with religious conscientiousness, with the same conscientious 
ness with which the believer watches over the dignity of his 
God. Let friendship be sacred to thee, property sacred, 
marriage sacred, sacred the well-being of every man; but 
let them be sacred in and by themselves. 

In Christianity the moral laws are regarded as the com 
mandments of God ; morality is even made the criterion of 
piety ; but ethics have nevertheless a subordinate rank, they 
have not in themselves a religious significance. This belongs 
only to faith. Above morality hovers God, as a being distinct 

* Yes, only as the free bond of love; for a marriage the bond of which is 
merely an external restriction, not the voluntary, contented self-restriction of 
love, in short, a marriage which is not spontaneously concluded, spontaneously 
willed, self-sufficing, is not a true marriage, and therefore riot a truly moral 


from man, a being to whom the best is due, while the remnants 
only fall to the share of man. All those dispositions which 
ought to be devoted to life, to man, all the best powers of 
humanity, are lavished on the being who wants nothing. The 
real cause is converted into an impersonal means, a merely 
conceptional, imaginary cause usurps the place of the true one. 
Man thanks God for those benefits which have been rendered 
to him even at the cost of sacrifice by his fellow-man. The 
gratitude which he expresses to his benefactor is only osten 
sible; it is paid, not to him, but to God. He is thankful, 
grateful to God, but unthankful to man.* Thus is the moral 
sentiment subverted in religion ! Thus does man sacrifice 
man to God ! The bloody human sacrifice is in fact only a 
rude, material expression of the inmost secret of religion. 
Where bloody human sacrifices are offered to God, such 
sacrifices are regarded as the highest thing, physical existence 
as the chief good. For this reason life is sacrificed to God, 
and it is so on extraordinary occasions; the supposition being 
that this is the way to show him the greatest honour. If Chris 
tianity no longer, at least in our day, offers bloody sacrifices to 
its God, this arises, to say nothing of other reasons, from the fact 
that physical existence is no longer regarded as the highest good 
Hence the soul, the emotions are now offered to God, because 
these are held to be something higher. But the common case is, 
that in religion man sacrifices some duty towards man such as 
that of respecting the life of his fellow, of being grateful to him 
to a religious obligation, sacrifices his relation to man to his 
relation to God. The Christians, by the idea that God is without 
wants, and that he is only an object of pure adoration, have 
certainly done away with many pernicious conceptions. But 
this freedom from wants is only a metaphysical idea, which is 
by no means part of the peculiar nature of religion. When the 
need for worship is supposed to exist only on one side, the sub 
jective side, this has the invariable effect of one-sidedness, and 

* " Because God does good through government, great men and creatures 
in general, people rush into error, lean on creatures and not on the Creator; 
they do not look from the creature to the Creator. Hence it came that the 
heathens made gods of kings For they cannot and will not per 
ceive that the work or the benefit conies from God, and not merely from the 
creature, though the latter is a means, through which God works, helps us, 
and gives to us." Luther (T. iv. p. 237). 


leaves the religious emotions cold; hence, if not in express 
words, yet in fact, there must be attributed to God a condition 
corresponding to the subjective need, the need of the worshipper, 
in order to establish reciprocity.* All the positive definitions 
of religion are based on reciprocity. The religious man thinks 
of God, because God thinks of him ; he loves God, because 
God has first loved him. God is jealous of man ; religion is 
jealous of morality ;f it sucks away the best forces of morality; 
it renders to man only the things that are man's, but to God the 
things that are God's; and to Him is rendered true, living 
emotion, the heart. 

When in times in which peculiar sanctity was attached to 
religion, we find marriage, property, and civil law respected, 
this has not its foundation in religion, but in the original, 
natural sense of morality and right, to which the true 
social relations are sacred as such. He to whom the Eight is 
not holy for its own sake, will never be made to feel it sacred 
by religion. Property did not become sacred because it was 
regarded as a divine institution ; but it was regarded as a divine 
institution because it was felt to be in itself sacred. Love is 
not holy, because it is a predicate of God, but it is a predicate 
of God because it is in itself divine. The heathens do not 
worship the light or the fountain, because it is a gift of God, 

* " They who honour me, I will honour, and they who despise me shall be 
lightly esteemed." 1 Sam. ii. 30. " Jam se, o bone pater, vermis vilissimus 
et odio dignissimus sernpiterno, tamen confidit amari, quoniam se sentit 

amare, imo quia se amari prsesentit, non redamare confunditur 

Nemo itaque se amari diffidat, qui jam amat." Bernardus ad Thomam 
(Epist. 107). A very fine and pregnant sentence. If I exist not for God, 
God exists not for me ; if I do not love, I am not loved. The passive is 
the active certain of itself, the object is the subject certain of itself. To 
love is to be man, to be loved is to be God. I am loved, says God; I love, 
says man. It is not until later that this is reversed, that the passive trans 
forms itself into the active, and conversely. 

"|" " The Lord spake to Gideon : The people are too many, that are with 
thee, that I should give Midian into their hands; Israel might glorify 
itself against me and say : My hand has delivered me," i. e., " Ne Israel 
sibi tribuat, quas mini debentur." Judges vii. 2. " Thus saith the Lord : 
Cursed is the man that trusteth in man. But blessed is the man that 
trusteth in the Lord and whose hope is in the Lord." Jer. xvii. 5. " God 
desires not our gold, body and possessions, but has given these to the 
emperor, (that is, to the representative of the world, of the state,) and to us 
through the emperor. But the heart, which is the greatest and best in 
man, he has reserved for himself; this must be our offering to God that 
we believe in him." Luther (xvi. p. 505). 


but because it has of itself a beneficial influence on man, 
because it refreshes the sufferer ; on account of this excellent 
quality they pay it divine honours. 

Wherever morality is based on theology, wherever the right 
is made dependent on divine authority, the most immoral, un 
just, infamous things can be justified and established. I can 
found morality on theology only when I myself have already 
defined the divine being by means of morality. In the contrary 
case, I have no criterion of the moral and immoral, but merely 
an immoral, arbitrary basis, from which I may deduce anything 
I please. Thus, if I would found morality on God, I must 
first of all place it in God : for Morality, Eight, in short, all 
substantial relations, have their only basis in themselves, can 
only have a real foundation such as truth demands when 
they are thus based. To place anything in God, or to derive 
anything from God, is nothing more than to withdraw it from 
the test of reason, to institute it as indubitable, unassailable, 
sacred, without rendering an account why. Hence self-delusion, 
if not wicked, insidious design, is at the root of all efforts to 
establish morality, right, on theology. Where we are in 
earnest about the right we need no incitement or support from 
above. We need no Christian rule of political right ; we need 
only one which is rational, just, human. The right, the true, 
the good, has always its ground of sacredness in itself, in its 
quality. Where man is in earnest about ethics, they have in 
themselves the validity of a divine power. If morality has no 
foundation in itself, there is no inherent necessity for morality; 
morality is then surrendered to the groundless arbitrariness of 

Thus the work of the self-conscious reason in relation to 
religion is simply to destroy an illusion : an illusion, how 
ever, which is by no means indifferent, but which, on the con 
trary, is profoundly injurious in its effect on mankind; which 
deprives man as well of the power of real life, as of the genuine 
sense of truth and virtue ; for even love, in itself the deepest, 
truest emotion, becomes by means of religiousness merely 
ostensible, illusory, since religious love gives itself to man only 
for God's sake, so that it is given only in appearance to man, 
but in reality to God. 

And we need only, as we have shown, invert the religious 
relations regard that as an end which religion supposes to be 
a means exalt that into the primary which in religion is sub- 


ordinate, the accessory, the condition, at once we have de 
stroyed the illusion, and the unclouded light of truth streams 
in upon us. The sacraments of Baptism and the Lord's 
Supper, which are the characteristic symbols of the Christian 
religion, may serve to confirm and exhibit this truth. 

The Water of Baptism is to religion only the means by which 
the Holy Spirit imparts itself to man. But by this conception 
it is placed in contradiction with reason, with the truth of 
things. On the one hand, there is virtue in the objective, 
natural quality of water; on the other, there is none, but it is 
a merely arbitrary medium of divine grace and omnipotence. 
We free ourselves from these and other irreconcilable contra 
dictions, we give a true significance to Baptism, only by re 
garding it as a symbol of the value of water itself. Baptism 
should represent to us the wonderful but natural effect of water 
on man. Water has in fact not merely physical effects, 
but also, and as a result of these, moral and intellectual effects 
on man. Water not only cleanses man from bodily impurities, 
but in water the scales fall from his eyes : he sees, he thinks, 
more clearly ; he feels himself freer ; water extinguishes the 
fire of appetite. How many saints have had recourse to the 
natural qualities of water, in order to overcome the assaults of 
the devil ! What was denied by Grace has been granted by 
Nature. Water plays a part not only in dietetics, but also in 
moral and mental discipline. To purify oneself, to bathe, is 
the first, though the lowest of virtues.* In the stream of 
water the fever of selfishness is allayed. Water is the readiest 
means of making friends with Nature. The bath is a sort of 
chemical process, in which our individuality is resolved into the 
objective life of Nature. The man rising from the water is a 

* Christian baptism also is obviously only a relic of the ancient Nature- 
worship, in which, as in the Persian, water was a means of religious purifi 
cation. (S. Rhode: Die heilige Sage, &c. pp. 305, 426.) Here, however, 
water baptism had a much truer, and consequently a deeper meaning, than 
with the Christians, because it rested on the natural power and value of 
water. But indeed for these simple views of Nature which characterized the 
old religions, our speculative as well as theological supranaturalism has 
neither sense nor understanding. When therefore the Persians, the 
Hindoos, the Egyptians, the Hebrews, made physical purity a religious 
duty, they were herein far wiser than the Christian saints, who attested 
the supranaturalistic principle of their religion by physical impurity. 
Supranaturalism in theory becomes an ti- naturalism in practice. Supra- 
naturalism is only a euphemism for anti-naturalism. 


new, a regenerate man. The doctrine that morality can clo 
nothing without means of grace, has a valid meaning if, in 
place of imaginary, supernatural means of grace, we substitute 
natural means. Moral feeling can effect nothing without 
Nature; it must ally itself with the simplest natural means. 
The profoundest secrets lie in common every- day things, such 
as supranaturalistic religion and speculation ignore, thus 
sacrificing real mysteries to imaginary, illusory ones; as 
here, for example, the real power of water is sacrificed to an 
imaginary one. Water is the simplest means of grace or healing 
for the maladies of the soul as well as of the body. But water 
is effectual only where its use is constant and regular. Baptism, 
as a single act, is either an altogether useless and unmeaning 
institution, or, if real effects are attributed to it, a- superstitious 
one. But it is a rational, a venerable institution, if it is under 
stood to typify and celebrate the moral and physical curative 
virtues of water. 

But the sacrament of water required a supplement. Water, 
as a universal element of life, reminds us of our origin from 
Nature, an origin which we have in common with plants and 
animals. In Baptism we bow to the power of a pure Nature- 
force ; water is the element of natural equality and freedom, 
the mirror of the golden age. But we men are distinguished 
from the plants and animals, which together with the inorganic 
kingdom we comprehend under the common name of Nature ; 
we are distinguished from Nature. Hence we must celebrate 
our distinction, our specific difference. The symbols of this 
our difference are bread and wine. Bread and wine are, as to 
their materials, products of Nature ; as to their form, products 
of man. If in water we declare : man can do nothing without 
Nature ; by bread and wine we declare : Nature needs man, as 
man needs Nature. In water, human, mental activity is nulli 
fied ; in bread and wine it attains self-satisfaction. Bread and 
wine are supernatural products, in the only valid and true 
sense, the sense which is not in contradiction with reason and 
Nature. If in water we adore the pure force of Nature, in bread 
and wine we adore the supernatural power of mind, of con 
sciousness, of man. Hence this sacrament is only for man 
matured into consciousness ; while baptism is imparted to in 
fants. But we at the same time celebrate here the true relation of 
mind to Nature : Nature gives the material, mind gives the form. 
The sacrament of Baptism inspires us with thankfulness 

N 3 


towards Nature, the sacrament of bread and wine with thank 
fulness towards man. Bread and wine typify to us the truth 
that Man is the true God and Saviour of man. 

Eating and drinking is the mystery of the Lord's Supper; 
eating and drinking is in fact in itself a religious act ; at 
least, ought to he so.* Think, therefore, with every morsel of 
bread which relieves thee from the pain of hunger, with every 
draught of wine which cheers thy heart, of the God, who con 
fers these beneficent gifts upon thee, think of Man ! But in 
thy gratitude towards man forget not gratitude towards holy 
Nature ! Forget not that wine is the blood of plants, and flour 
the flesh of plants, which are sacrificed for thy well-being ! For 
get not that the plant typifies to thee the essence of Nature, 
which lovingly surrenders itself for thy enjoyment! Therefore 
forget not the gratitude which thou owest to the natural quali 
ties of bread and wine ! And if thou art inclined to smile that 
I call eating and drinking religious acts, because they are com 
mon every-day acts, and are therefore performed by multitudes 
without thought, without emotion ; reflect, that the Lord's Sup 
per is to multitudes a thoughtless, emotionless act, because it 
takes place often ; and, for the sake of comprehending the reli 
gious significance of bread and wine, place thyself in a posi 
tion where the daily act is unnaturally, violently interrupted. 
Hunger and thirst destroy not only the physical but also the 
mental and moral powers of man; they rob him of his 
humanity of understanding, of consciousness. Oh ! if thou 
shouldst ever experience such want, how wouldst thou bless 
and praise the natural qualities of bread and wine, which 
restore to thee thy humanity, thy intellect ! It needs only that 
the ordinary course of things be interrupted in order to vindi 
cate to common things an uncommon significance, to life, as 
such, a religious import. Therefore let bread be sacred for us, 
let wine be sacred, and also let water be sacred ! Amen. 

* " Eating and drinking is the easiest of all work, for men like nothing 
better : yea, the most joyful work in the whole world is eating and drinking, 
as it is commonly said: Before eating no dancing, and, On a full stomach 
stands a merry head. In short, eating and drinking is a pleasant necessary 
work ; that is a doctrine soon learned and made popular. The same pleasant 
necessary work takes our blessed Lord Christ and says : " I have prepared 
a joyful, sweet and pleasant meal, I will lay on you no hard heavy work . . 
I institute a supper," &c. Luther (xvi. 222). 




Man has his highest being, his God, in himself; not in himself as 
an individual, but in his essential nature, his species. No indi 
vidual is an adequate representation of his species, but only the 
human individual is conscious of the distinction between the species 
and the individual ; in the sense of this distinction lies the root of 
religion. The yearning of man after something above himself is 
nothing else than the longing after the perfect type of his nature, 
the yearning to be free from himself, i. e., from the limits and 
defects of his individuality. Individuality is the self-conditionating, 
the self-limitation of the species. Thus man has cognizance of 
nothing above himself, of nothing beyond the nature of humanity ; 
but to the individual man this nature presents itself under the 
form of an individual man. Thus, for example, the child sees the 
nature of man above itself in the form of its parents, the pupil in 
the form of his tutor. But all feelings which man experiences 
towards a superior man, nay, in general, all moral feelings which 
man has towards man, are of a religious nature.* Man feels 
nothing towards God which he does not also feel towards man. 
Homo homini deus est. Want teaches prayer; but in misfortune, 
in sorrow, man kneels to entreat help of man also. Feeling makes 
God a man, but for the same reason it makes man a God. How 
often in deep emotion, which alone speaks genuine truth, man 
exclaims to man: Thou art, thou hast been my redeemer, my 
saviour, my protecting spirit, my God ! We feel awe, reverence, 
humility, devout admiration, in thinking of a truly great, noble 
man; we feel ourselves worthless, we sink into nothing, even in 
the presence of human greatness. The purely, truly human emo 
tions are religious ; but for that reason the religious emotions are 
purely human : the only difference is, that the religious emotions 

* ' ' Manifestum igitur est tantum religionis sanguini et affinitati, quantum ipsis 
Diis immortalibus tributum : quia inter ista tarn sancta vincula non magis, quam 
in aliquoloco sacrato nudare se, nefas esse credebatur." Valer. Max. (1. ii. c. i.). 


are vague, indefinite; but even this is only the case when the 
object of them is indefinite. Where God is positively defined, is 
the object of positive religion, there God is also the object of 
positive, definite human feelings, the object of fear and love, and 
therefore he is a positively human being ; for there is nothing more 
in God than what lies in feeling. If in the heart there is fear and 
terror, in God there is anger; if in the heart there is joy, hope, 
confidence, in God there is love. Fear makes itself objective in 
anger; joy in love, in mercy. "As it is with me in my heart, so 
is it with God." "As my heart is, so is God." Luther (T. i. 
p. 72). But a merciful and angry God Deus vere irascitur 
(Melancthon) is a God no longer distinguishable from the human 
feelings and nature. Thus even in religion man bows before the 
nature of man under the form of a personal human being ; religion 
itself expressly declares and all anthropomorphisms declare this 
in opposition to pantheism, quod supra nos nihil ad nos ; that is, 
a God who inspires us with 110 human emotions, who does not 
reflect our own emotions, in a word, who is not a man, such a 
God is nothing to us, has no interest for us, does not concern us. 
(See the passages cited in this work from Luther.) 

Religion has thus no dispositions and emotions which are peculiar 
to itself; what it claims as belonging exclusively to its object, are 
simply the same dispositions and emotions that man experiences 
either in relation to himself (as, for example, to his conscience), or 
to his fellow-man, or to Nature. You must not fear men, but 
God; you must not love man, i. e., not truly, for his own sake, 
but God ; you must not humble yourselves before human greatness, 
but only before the Lord ; not believe and confide in man, but only 
in God. Hence comes the danger of worshipping false gods in dis 
tinction from the true God. Hence the "jealousy" of God. " Ego 
Jehova, Deus tuus, Deus sum zelotypus. Ut zelotypns vir dicitur, 
qui rivalem pati nequit : sic Deus socium in cultu, quern ab homini- 
bus postulat, ferre non potest." (Clericus, Comment, in Exod. c. 20, 
v. 5.) Jealousy arises because a being preferred and loved by 
me directs to another the feelings and dispositions which I claim 
for myself. But how could I be jealous if the impressions and 
emotions which I excite in the beloved being were altogether 
peculiar and apart, were essentially different from the impressions 
which another can make on him] If, therefore, the emotions of 
religion were objectively, essentially different from those which lie 
out of religion, there would be no possibility of idolatry in man, 
or of jealousy in God. As the flute has another sound to me than 
the trumpet, and I cannot confound the impressions produced by 
the former with the impressions produced by the latter; so I could 
not transfer to a natural or human being the emotions of religion, 


if the object of religion, God, were specifically different from the 
natural or human being, and consequently the impressions which 
he produced on me were specific, peculiar. 


Feeling alone is the object of feeling. Feeling is sympathy; 
feeling arises only in the love of man to man. Sensations man 
has in isolation ; feelings only in community. Only in sympathy 
does sensation rise into feeling. Feeling is aesthetic, human sensa 
tion; only what is human, is the object of feeling. In feeling 
man is related to his fellow man as to himself; he is alive to the 
sorrows, the joys of another as his own. Thus only by commu 
nication does man rise above merely egoistic sensation into feel 
ing; participated sensation is feeling. He who has no need of 
participating has no feeling. But what does the hand, the kiss, 
the glance, the voice, the tone, the word as the expression of 
emotion impart 1 ? Emotion. The very same thing which, pro 
nounced or performed without the appropriate tone, without 
emotion, is only an object of indifferent perception, becomes, 
when uttered or performed with emotion, an object of feeling. 
To feel is to have a sense of sensations, to have emotion in the 
perception of emotion. Hence the brutes rise to feeling only in 
the sexual relation, and therefore only transiently; for here the 
being experiences sensation not in. relation to itself taken alone, 
or to an object without sensation, but to a being having like 
emotions with itself, not to another as a distinct object, but to an 
object which in species is identical. Hence Nature is an object of 
feeling to me only when I regard it as a being akin to me, and in 
sympathy with me. 

It is clear from what has been said, that only where in truth, if 
not according to the subjective conception, the distinction between 
the divine and human being is abolished, is the objective existence 
of God, the existence of God as an objective, distinct being, abo 
lished : only there, I say, is religion made a mere matter of feeling, 
or conversely, feeling the chief point in religion. The last refuge 
of theology therefore is feeling. God is renounced by the under 
standing; he has no longer the dignity of a real object, of a reality 
which imposes itself on the understanding ; hence he is transferred 
to feeling; in feeling his existence is thought to be secure. And 
doubtless this is the safest refuge ; for to make feeling the essence of 
religion is nothing else than to make feeling the essence of God And 
as certainly as I exist, so certainly does my feeling exist ; and as cer 
tainly as my feeling exists, so certainly does my God exist. The 
certainty of God is here nothing else than the self-certainty of 


human feeling, the yearning after God is the yearning after un 
limited, uninterrupted, pure feeling. In life the feelings are 
interrupted ; they collapse ; they are followed by a state of void, 
of insensibility. The religious problem, therefore, is to give fixity 
to feeling in spite of the vicissitudes of life, and to separate it from 
repugnant disturbances and limitations : God himself is nothing 
else than undisturbed, uninterrupted feeling, feeling for which there 
exists no limits, no opposite. If God were a being distinct from thy 
feeling, he would be known to thee in some other way than simply 
in feeling; but just because thou perceivest him only by feeling, he 
exists only in feeling he is himself only feeling. 


God is marts highest feeling of self, freed from all contrarieties, or 
disagreeables. God is the highest being ; therefore, to feel God is 
the highest feeling. But is not the highest feeling also the highest 
feeling of self? So long as I have not had the feeling of the 
highest, so long I have not exhausted my capacity of feeling, so 
long I do not yet fully know the nature of feeling. What, then, is 
an object to me in my feeling of the highest being? Nothing else 
than the highest nature of my power of feeling. So much as a 
man can feel, so much is (his) God. But the highest degree of the 
power of feeling is also the highest degree of the feeling of self. 
In the feeling of the low I feel myself lowered, in the feeling of the 
high I feel myself exalted. The feeling of self and feeling are in 
separable, otherwise feeling would not belong to myself. Thus 
God, as an object of feeling, or what is the same thing, the feeling 
of God, is nothing else than man's highest feeling of self. But 
God is the freest, or rather the absolutely, only free being; thus 
God is man's highest feeling of freedom. How couldst thou be 
conscious of the highest being as freedom, or freedom as the highest 
being, if thou didst not feel thyself free? But when dost thou 
feel thyself free? When thou feelest God. To feel God is to feel 
oneself free. For example, thou feelest desire, passion, the con 
ditions of time and place, as limits. What thou feelest as a limit 
thou strugglest against, thou breakest loose from, thou deniest. 
The consciousness of a limit, as such, is already an anathema, a 
sentence of condemnation pronounced on this limit, for it is an 
oppressive, disagreeable, negative consciousness. Only the feeling 
of the good, of the positive, is itself good and positive is joy. Joy 
alone is feeling in its element, its paradise, because it is unrestricted 
activity. The sense of pain in an organ is nothing else than the 
sense of a disturbed, obstructed, thwarted activity ; in a word, the 


sense of something abnormal, anomalous. Hence thou strivest to 
escape from the sense of limitation into unlimited feeling. By 
means of the will, or the imagination, thou negativest limits, and 
thus obtainest the feeling of freedom. This feeling of freedom is God. 
God is exalted above desire and passion, above the limits of space 
and time. But this exaltation is thy own exaltation above that 
which appears to thee as a limit. Does not this exaltation of the 
divine being exalt thee? How could it do so, if it were external 
to thee? No; God is an exalted being only for him who himself 
has exalted thoughts and feelings. Hence the exaltation of the 
divine being varies according to that which different men, or 
nations, perceive as a limitation to the feeling of self, and which 
they consequently negative, or eliminate from their ideal. 


The distinction between the "heathen," or philosophic, and the 
Christian God the non-human, or pantheistic, and tJie human, 
personal God reduces itself only to the distinction between the 
understanding or reason, and the heart or feelings. Reason is the 
self-consciousness of the species, as such ; feeling is the self-con 
sciousness of individuality ; the reason has relation to existences, 
as things ; the heart to existences, as persons. / am is an expres 
sion of the heart; / think, of the reason. Cogito, ergo sum? No! 
Sentio, ergo sum. Feeling only is my existence; thinking is my 
non-existence, the negation of my individuality, the positing of the 
species ; reason is the annihilation of personality. To think is an 
act of spiritual marriage. Only beings of the same species under 
stand each other; the impulse to communicate thought is the in 
tellectual impulse of sex. Reason is cold, because its maxim is, 
audiatur et alter a pars, because it does not interest itself in man 
alone; but the heart is a partisan of man. Reason loves all im 
partially, but the heart only what is like itself. It is true that 
the heart has pity also on the brutes, but only because it sees in 
the brute something more than the brute. The heart loves only 
what it identifies with itself. It says : Whatsoever thou dost to 
this being, thou dost to me. The heart loves only itself; does not 
get beyond itself, beyond man. The superhuman God is nothing 
else than the supernatural heart ; the heart does not give us the 
idea of another, of a being different from ourselves. " For the 
heart, Nature is an echo, in which it hears only itself. Emotion, 
in the excess of its happiness, transfers itself to external things. It 
is the love which can withhold itself from no existence, which gives 
itself forth to all ; but it only recognises as existing that which it 


knows to have emotion."* Reason, on the contrary, has pity on 
animals, not because it finds itself in them, or identifies them with 
man, but because it recognises them as beings distinct from man, not 
existing simply for the sake of man, but also as having rights of 
their own. The heart sacrifices the species to the individual, the 
reason sacrifices the individual to the species. The man without 
feeling has no home, no private hearth. Feeling, the heart, is the 
domestic life ; the reason is the res publica of man. Reason is the 
truth of Nature, the heart is the truth of man. To speak 
popularly, reason is the God of Nature, the heart the God of man ; 
a distinction however which, drawn thus sharply, is, like the others, 
only admissible in antithesis. Everything which man wishes, but 
which reason, which Nature denies, the heart bestows. God, immor 
tality, freedom, in the supranaturalistic sense, exist only in the heart. 
The heart is itself the existence of God, the existence of immor 
tality. Satisfy yourselves with this existence! You do not 
understand your heart ; therein lies the evil. You desire a real, 
external, objective immortality, a God out of yourselves. Here 
is the source of delusion. 

But as the heart releases man from the limits, even the essential 
limits of Nature ; reason, on the other hand, releases Nature from 
the limits of external finiteness. It is true that Nature is the light 
and measure of reason; a truth which is opposed to abstract 
Idealism. Only what is naturally true is logically true ; what has 
no basis in Nature has no basis at all. That which is not a physical 
law is not a metaphysical law. Every true law in metaphysics can 
and must be verified physically. But at the same time reason is 
also the light of Nature ; and this truth is the barrier against crude 
materialism. Reason is the nature of things come fully to itself, 
re-established in its entireness. Reason divests things of the dis 
guises and transformations which they have undergone in the conflict 
and agitation of the external world, and reduces them to their true 
character. Most, indeed nearly all, crystals to give an obvious 
illustration appear in nature under a form altogether different 
from their fundamental one ; nay, many crystals never have ap 
peared in their fundamental form. Nevertheless, the mineralogical 
reason has discovered that fundamental form. Hence nothing is 
more foolish than to place Nature in opposition to reason, as an 
essence in itself incomprehensible to reason. If reason reduces 
transformations and disguises to their fundamental forms, does it 
not effect that which lies in the idea of Nature itself, but which, 
prior to the operation of reason, could not be effected on account 
of external hinderances? What else then does reason do than re- 

* See the author's "Leibnitz. 1 


move external disturbances, influences, and obstructions, so as to 
present a thing as it ought to be, to make the existence correspond 
to the idea; for the fundamental form is the idea of the crystal. 
Another popular example. Granite consists of mica, quartz, and 
feldspar. But frequently other kinds of stone are mingled with it. 
If we had no other guide and tutor than the senses, we should 
without hesitation reckon as constituent parts of granite all the 
kinds of stone which we ever find in combination with it; we 
should say yes to everything the senses told us, and so never come 
to the true idea of granite. But reason says to the credulous 
senses : Quod non. It discriminates ; it distinguishes the essential 
from the accidental elements. Reason is the midwife of Nature ; it 
explains, enlightens, rectifies and completes Nature. Now that 
which separates the essential from the non-essential, the neces 
sary from the accidental, what is proper to a thing from what 
is foreign, which restores what has been violently sundered to 
unity, and what has been forcibly united to freedom, is not this 
divine 1 Is not such an agency as this the agency of the highest, 
of divine love ? And how would it be possible that reason should 
exhibit the pure nature of things, the original text of the universe, 
if it were not itself the purest, most original essence ? But reason 
has no partiality for this or that species of things. It embraces 
with equal interest the whole universe ; it interests itself in all 
things and beings without distinction, without exception; it be 
stows the same attention on the worm which human egoism 
tramples under its feet, as on man, as on the sun in the firmament. 
Reason is thus the all-embracing, all-compassionating being, the 
love of the universe to itself. To reason alone belongs the great 
work of the resurrection and restoration of all things and beings 
universal redemption and reconciliation. Not even the unreason 
ing animal, the speechless plant, the unsentient stone, shall be 
excluded from this universal festival. But how would it be possible 
that reason should interest itself in all beings without exception, if 
reason were not itself universal and unlimited in its nature 1 Is a 
limited nature compatible with unlimited interest, or an unlimited 
interest with a limited nature? By what dost thou recognise the 
limitation of a being but by the limitation of his interest ? As far 
as the interest extends, so far extends the nature. The desire of 
knowledge is infinite ; reason then is infinite. Reason is the highest 
species of being; hence it includes all species in the sphere of 
knowledge. Reason cannot content itself in the individual ; it has 
its adequate existence only when it has the species for its object, 
and the species not as it has already developed itself in the past and 
present, but as it will develop itself in the unknown future. In the 
activity of reason I feel a distinction between myself and reason in 


me; this distinction is the limit of the individuality; in feeling I 
am conscious of no distinction between myself and feeling; and 
with this absence of distinction there is an absence also of the sense 
of limitation. Hence it arises that to so many men reason appears 
finite, and only feeling infinite. And, in fact, feeling, the heart of 
man as a rational being, is as infinite, as universal as reason ; since 
man only truly perceives and understands that for which he has 

Thus reason is the essence of Nature and Man, released from 
non-essential limits, in their identity ; it is the universal being, the 
universal God. The heart, considered in its difference from the 
reason, is the private God of man ; the personal God is the heart 
of man, emancipated from the limits or laws of Nature.* 


Nature, the world, has no value, no interest for Christians. The 
Christian thinks only of himself, and the salvation of his soul. "A te 
incipiat cogitatio tua et in te finiatur, nee frustra in alia distendaris, 
te neglecto. Praeter salutem tuam nihil cogites. De inter. Domo. 
(Among the spurious writings of St. Bernard.) Si te vigilanter 
homo attendas, mirum est, si ad aliud unquam intendas. Divus 

Bernardus. (Tract, de XII grad. humil. et sup.) Orbe sit sol 

major, an pedis unius latitudine metiatur? alieno ex lumine an 
propriis luceat fulgoribus luna? quae neque scire compendium, neque 

ignorare detrimentum est ullum Res vestra in ancipiti sita est: 

solus dico animarum vestrarum. Arnobius (adv. gentes, 1. ii. c. 61). 
Quaero igitur ad quani rem scientia referenda sit; si ad causas 
rerum naturalium, quae beatitudo erit mihi proposita, si sciero unde 
Nilus oriatur, vel quicquid de coelo Physici delirant? Lactantius. 

(Instit. div. 1. iii. c. 8.) Etiam curiosi esse prohibemur Sunt 

enim qui desertis virtutibus et nescientes quid sit Deus.... magnum 
aliquid se agere putant, si universam ista/m corporis molem, quam 
munduin nuncupamus, curiosissime intentissimeque perquirant. . . . 
Heprimat igitur se anima ab hujusmodi vanae cognitionis cupiditate, 
si se castam Deo servare disposuit. Tali enim amore plerumque 
decipitur, ut (aut) nihil putet esse nisi corpus. Augustinus (de 
Mor. Eccl. cath. 1. i. c. 21). De terrene quoque vel qualitate vel 

* [Here follows in the original a distinction between Herz, or feeling directed 
towards real objects, and therefore practically sympathetic ; and Gemuth, or feeling 
directed towards imaginary objects, and therefore practically unsympathetic, self- 
absorbed. Bnt the verbal distinction is not adhered to in the ordinary use of the 
language, or, indeed, by Feuerbach himself; and the psychological distinction is 
sufficiently indicated in other parts of the present work. The passage is therefore 
omitted, as likely to confuse the reader. 


positione tractare, niliil prosit ad spem futuri, cum satis sit ad 
scientiam, quod scripturarum dimnarwm series comprehendit, quod 
Deus suspendit terrain in nihilo. Ambrosius (Hexaemeron, 1. i. 
c. 6). Longe utique praestantius est, nosse resurrecturam carnem 
ac sine fine victuram, quam quidquid in ea medici scrutando discere 
potuerunt. Augustinus (de Anima et ejus orig. 1. iv. c. 10)." "Let 

natural science alone It is enough that thou knowest fire is 

hot, water cold and moist Know how thou oughtest to treat thy 

field, thy cow, thy house and child that is enough of natural 
science for thee. Think how thou mayest learn Christ, who will 
show thee thyself, who thou art, and what is thy capability. Thus 
wilt thou learn God and thyself, which no natural master or natural 
science eVer taught." Luther (T. xiii. p. 264). 

Such quotations as these, which might be multiplied indefinitely, 
show clearly enough that true, religious Christianity has within it 
no principle of scientific and material culture, no motive to it. 
The practical end and object of Christians is solely heaven, i. e., the 
realized salvation of the soul. The theoretical end and object of 
Christians is solely God, as the being identical with the salvation 
of the soul. He who knows God knows all things ; and as God is 
infinitely more than the world, so theology is infinitely more than 
the knowledge of the world. Theology makes happy, for its object 
is personified happiness. Infelix homo, qui scit ilia omnia (created 
things) te autein nescit, Beatus autem qui te scit, etiam si ilia nesciat. 
Augustin (Confess. 1. v. c. 4). Who then would, who could 
exchange the blessed divine being for the unblessed worthless 
things of this world? It is true that God reveals himself in 
Nature, but only vaguely, dimly, only in his most general attributes ; 
himself, his true personal nature, he reveals only in religion, in 
Christianity. The knowledge of God through Nature is heathen 
ism; the knowledge of God through himself, through Christ, in 
whom dwelt the fulness of the Godhead bodily, is Christianity. 
What interest, therefore, should Christians have in occupying 
themselves with material, natural things 1 Occupation with Nature, 
culture in general, presupposes or, at least, infallibly produces, a 
heathenish, mundane, anti-theological, anti-supranaturalistic senti 
ment and belief. Hence the culture of modern Christian nations 
is so little to be derived from Christianity, that it is only to be 
explained by the negation of Christianity, a negation which 
certainly was, in the first instance, only practical. It is indeed 
necessary to distinguish between what the Christians were as 
Christians and what they were as heathens, as natural men, and 
thus between that which they have said and done in agreement, 
and that which they have said and done in contradiction with 
their faith. (See on this subject the author's P. Bayle.) 


How frivolous, therefore, are modern Christians, when they deck 
themselves in the arts and sciences of modern nations as products 
of Christianity! How striking is the contrast in this respect 
between these modern boasters and the Christians of older times ! 
The latter knew of no other Christianity than that which is con 
tained in the Christian faith, in faith in Christ; they did not 
reckon the treasures and riches, the arts and sciences of this world, 
as part of Christianity. In all these points, they rather conceded 
the pre-eminence to the ancient heathens, the Greeks and Romans. 
" Why dost thou not also wonder, Erasmus, that from the beginning 
of the world there have always been among the heathens higher, 
rarer people, of greater, more exalted understanding, more excellent 
diligence and skill in all arts, than among Christians or the people 
of God ? Christ himself says, that the children of this world are 
wiser than the children of light. Yea, who among the Christians 
could we compare for understanding or application to Cicero (to 
say nothing of the Greeks, Demosthenes and others) 1 ?" Luther 
(T. xix. p. 37). Quid igitur nos antecellimus? Num ingenio, 
doctrina, morwn moderations illos superamus ? Nequaquam. Sed 
vera Dei agnitione, invocatione et celebratione prcestamus. Melanc- 
thonis (et al. Declam. T. iii, de vera invocat. Dei). 


In religion man Jms in view himself alone, or, in regarding him 
self as the object of God, as the end of the divine activity, he is an 
object to himself, his own end and aim. The mystery of the Incar 
nation is the mystery of the love of God to man, and the mystery 
of the love of God to man is the love of man to himself. God 
suffers suffers for me this is the highest self-enjoyment, the 
highest self-certainty of human feeling. " God so loved the world, 
that he gave his only begotten Son." John iii. 16. " If God be for 
us, who can be against us ? He that spared not his own Son, but 
gave him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give 
us all things ?" Horn. viii. 31, 32. " God commendeth his love 
towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 
Rom. v. 8. " The life which I now live in the flesh I live by 
the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for 
me ." Gal. ii. 20. See also, Titus iii. 4; Heb. ii. 11. "Credimus 

in unum Deum patrem et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum 

filium Dei Deum ex Deo qui propter nos homines et propter 

nostram salutem descendit et incarnatus et homo factus est passus." 
Fides Nicaenae Synodi. " Servator ex praeexcellenti in homi 
nes charitate non despexit carnis humanae imbecillitatem, sed ea 
indutus ad commimein venit hominum salutem." Clemens Alex. 


(Stromata, 1. vii. Ed. Wirceb. 1779.) " Christianos autem haec 
universa decent, providentiam esse, maxime vero divinissimum et 
propter excellentiarn amoris erga homines incredibilissimum provi- 
dentiae opus, dei incarnatio, quae propter nos facta est." Gregorii 
Nysseni, (Philosophiae, 1. viii. de provid. c. i. 1512. B. Rhenanus. 
Jo. Cono interp.) " Venit siquidem universitatis creator et Dominus : 
venit ad homines, venit propter homines, venit homo" Divus Ber- 
nardus Clarev. (de adventu Domini. Basil. 1552). " Videte, Fratres, 

quantum se humiliavit propter homines Deus Unde non se ipse 

liomo despiciat, propter quern utique ista subire dignatus est Deus" 
Augustinus (Sermones ad pop. S. 371, c. 3). " homo propter quern 
Deus factus est homo, aliquid magnum te credere debes" (S. 380, c. 
2). " Quis de se desperet, pro quo tam humilis esse voluit Filius 
Dei?" Id. (de Agone Chr. c. 11). "Quis potest odire hominem, 
cujus naturam et similitudinem videt in humanitate Dei ? Reveraqui 
odit ilium, odit Deum" (Manuale, c. 2 6. Among the spurious writings 

of Augustine.) " Plus nos amat Deus quam /ilium pater Propter 

nos filio non pepercit. Et quid plus addo 1 et hoc filio justo et hoc 
filio unigenito et hoc filio Deo. Et quid dici amplius potest? et 
hoc pro nobis, i. e. pro malis, etc." Salvianus (de gubernatione Dei. 
Kittershusius, 1611. pp. 126, 127). " Quid enim mentes nostras tan- 
turn erigit et ab immortalitatis desperatione liberat, quam quod tanti 

nos fecit Deus, ut Dei films dignatus nostrum inire consortium 

mala nostra moriendo perferret." Petrus Lomb. (lib. iii. dist. 20, 
c. 1.) " Attamen si ilia quae miseriam nescit, misericordia non 
praecessisset, ad hanc cujus mater est miseria, non accessisset." D. 
Bernardus (Tract, de XII gradibus hum. et sup). " Ecce omnia tua 
sunt, quae habeo et uncle tibi servio. Verum tamen vice versa tu 
magis mihi servis, quam ego tibi. Ecce coelum et terra quae in 
ministerium hominis creasti, praesto sunt et faciunt quotidie quae- 
cunque mandasti. Et hoc parum est : quin etiam Angelos in mini 
sterium hominis ordinasti. Transcendit autem omnia, quia tu ipse 
homini servire dignatus es et te ipsum daturum ei promisisti." 
Thomas k Kempis (de Imit. 1. iii. c. 10). "Ego omnipotens et 
altissimus, qui cuncta creavi ex nihilo, me homini propter te humi- 

liter subjeci Pepercit tibi oculus rneus, quia pretiosa fuit anima 

tua in conspectu meo" (ibid. c. 13). " Fili ego descendi de coelo pro 
salute tua, suscepi tuas miserias, non necessitate, sed charitate 
trahente" (ibid. c. 18). "Si consilium rei tantae spectamus, quod 
totum pertinet, ut s. litterae demonstrant, ad salutem generis 
humani, quid potest esse dignius Deo, quam ilia tanta hujussalutis 

cura, et ut ita dicamus, tantus in ea re sumptus? Itaque Jesus 

Christus ipse cum omnibus Apostolis in hoc mysterio Filii Dei 

iv ffapKi fyavepwSevroQ angelis hominibusque patefactam esse 
dicunt magnitudinem sapientis bonitatis divinae" J. A. Ernesti 


(Dignit. et verit. inc. Filii Dei asserta. Opusc. Theol. Lipsiae, 1773. 
pp. 404, 405. How feeble, how spiritless compared with the ex 
pressions of the ancient faith !) " Propter me Christus suscepit meas 
infirmitates, mei corporis subiit passiones, pro me peccatum h. e. 
pro omni homine, pro me maledictum factus est, etc. Ille flevit, 
ne tu homo diu fleres. Ille injurias passus est, ne tu injuriam 
tuam doleres." Ambrosius (de fide ad Gratianum, 1. ii. c. 4). 
" God is not against us men. For if God had been against us and 
hostile to us, he would not assuredly have taken the poor wretched 
human nature on himself. " " How highly our Lord God has 
honoured us, that he has caused his own Son to become man ! How 
could he have made himself nearer to us TV- Luther (T. xvi. pp. 533, 
574). " It is to be remarked that he (Stephen) is said to have 
seen not God himself but the man Christ, whose nature is the 
dearest and likest and most consoling to man, for a man would 
rather see a man than an angel or any other creature, especially in 
trouble." Id. (T. xiii. p. 170). " It is not thy kingly rule which 
draws hearts to thee, O wonderful heart ! but thy having become 
a man in the fulness of time, and thy walk upon the earth, full of 
weariness." " Though thou guidest the sceptre of the starry realm, 
thou art still our brother; flesh and blood never disowns itself." 
" The most powerful charm that melts my heart, is, that my Lord 
died on the cross for me." "That it is which moves me; I love 
thee for thy love, that thou, the creator, the supreme prince, be- 
camest the Lamb of God for me." " Thanks be to thee, dear Lamb 
of God, with thousands of sinners' tears; thou didst die for me on 
the cross and didst seek me with yearning." " Thy blood it is which 
has made me give myself up to thee ; else I had never thought of 
thee through my whole life." " If thou hadst not laid hold upon 
me, I should never have gone to seek thee." " O how sweetly the 
soul feeds on the passion of Jesus! Shame and joy are stirred, O 
thou son of God and of man, when in spirit we see thee so willingly 
go to death on the cross for us, and each thinks : for me." " The 
Father takes us under his care, the Son washes us with his blood, 
the Holy Spirit is always labouring that he may guide and teach 
us." " Ah ! King, great at all times, but never greater than in the 
blood-stained robe of the martyr." " My friend is to me and I to 
him as the Cherubim over the mercy-seat : we look at each other con 
tinually. He seeks repose in my heart, and I ever hasten towards 
his : he wishes to be in my soul, and I in the wound in his side." 
These quotations are taken from the Moravian hymn-book (Gesang- 
buch der Evangelischen Briidergemeine. Gnadau, 1824). We see 
clearly enough from the examples above given, that the deepest 
mystery of the Christian religion resolves itself into the mystery of 
human self-love, but that religious self-love is distinguished from 


natural in this, that it changes the active into the passive. It is 
true that the more profound, mystical religious sentiment abhors 
such naked, undisguised egoism as is exhibited in the Herrnhut 
hymns; it does not in God expressly have reference to itself; it 
rather forgets, denies itself, demands an unselfish, disinterested love 
of God, contemplates God in relation to God, not to itself. " Causa 

diligendi Deum, Deus est. Modus sine modo diligere Qui 

Domino confitetur, non quoniam sibi bonus est, sed quoniam bonus 
est, hie vere diligit Deum propter Deum et non propter seipsum. 
Te enim quodammodo perdere, tanquam qui non sis et omnino non 
sentire te ipsum et a temetipso exinaniri et pene annullari, coelestis 
est conversationis, non humanae affectionis" (thus the ideal of love, 
which, however, is first realized in heaven). Bernhardus, Tract, 
de dilig. Deo (ad Haymericum). But this free, unselfish love 
is only the culmination of religious enthusiasm, in which the 
subject is merged in the object. As soon as the distinction presents 
itself and it necessarily does so so soon does the subject have 
reference to itself as the object of God. And even apart from this : 
the religious subject denies its ego, its personality, only because it 
has the enjoyment of blissful personality in God God per se the 
realized salvation of the soul, God the highest self-contentment, 
the highest rapture of human feeling. Hence the saying : " Qui 
Deum non diligit, seipsum non diligit." 


Because God suffers, man must suffer. The Christian religion is 
the religion of suffering. " Yidelicet vestigia Salvatoris sequimur in 
theatris. Tale nobis scilicet Christus reliquit exemplum, quern 
flevisse legimus, risisse non legimus." Salvianus (1. c. 1. vi. 181). 
" Christianorum ergo est pressuram pati in hoc saeculo et lugere, 
quorum est aeterna vita." Origenes (Explan. in Ep. Pauli ad Boin. 
1. ii. c. ii. interp. Hieronymo). " Nemo vitam aeternam, incorrup- 
tibilem, immortalemque desiderat, nisi eum vitae hujus temporalis, 

corruptibilis, mortalisque poeniteat Quid ergo cupimus, nisi ita 

non esse ut nunc sumus ? Et quid ingemiscimus, nisi poenitendo, 
quia ita sumus ?" Augustinus (Sermones ad pop. S. 35 1, c. 3). " Si 
quidem aliquid melius et utilius saluti hominum quam pati fuisset, 

Christus utique verbo et exemplo ostendisset Quoniam per 

multas tribulationes oportet nos intrare in regnum Dei." Thomas 
a Kempis (de Imit. 1. ii. c. 12). When, however, the Christian 
religion is designated as the religion of suffering, this of course 
applies only to the Christianity of the " mistaken" Christians of old 
times. Protestantism, in its very beginning, denied the sufferings 
of Christ as constituting a principle of morality. It is precisely 


the distinction between Catholicism and Protestantism, in relation 
to this subject, that the latter, out of self-regard, attached itself 
only to the merits of Christ, while the former, out of sympathy, 
attached itself to his sufferings. " Formerly, in popery, the suffer 
ings of the Lord were so preached, that it was only pointed out 
how his example should be imitated. After that, the time was 
filled up with the sufferings and sorrows of Mary, and the compas 
sion with which Christ and his mother were bewailed; and the 
only aim was how to make it piteous, and move the people to com 
passion and tears, and he who could do this well was held the best 
preacher for Passion-week. But we preach the Lord's sufferings 

as the Holy Scripture teaches us Christ suffered for the praise 

and glory of God but to me, and thee, and all of us, he suffered 

in order to bring redemption and blessedness The cause and 

end of the sufferings of Christ is comprised in this he suffered for 
us. This honour is to be given to no other suffering." Luther (T. 
xvi. p. 182). "Lamb! I weep only for joy over thy suffering; 
the suffering was thine, but thy merit is mine !" " I know of no 
joys but those which come from thy sufferings." " It remains ever 
in my mind that it cost thee thy blood to redeem me." " O my 
Immanuel ! how sweet is it to my soul when thou permittest me to 
enjoy the outpouring of thy blood." "Sinners are glad at heart 

that they have a Saviour it is wondrously beautiful to them to 

see Jesus on the Cross" (Moravian hymn-book). It is therefore 
not to be wondered at, if Christians of the present day decline to 
know anything more of the sufferings of Christ. It is they, for 
sooth, who have first made out what true Christianity is they rely 
solely on the divine word of the Holy Scriptures. And the Bible, 
as every one knows, has the valuable quality, that everything may 
be found in it which it is desired to find. What once stood there, 
of course now stands there no longer. The principle of stability 
has long vanished from the Bible. Divine revelation is as changing 
as human opinion. Tempora mutantur. 


The mystery of the Trinity is the mystery of participated, social 
life the mystery of I and thou. " Unurn Deum esse confitemur. 
Non sic unum Deum, quasi solitarium, nee eundem, qui ipse sibi 
pater, sit ipse filius, sed patrem verum, qui genuit filium verum, 

i. e. Deum ex Deo non creatum, sed genitum" Concil. Chalced. 

(Carranza Summa 1559. p. 139). "Si quis quod scriptum est: 
Faciamus hominem, non patrem ad filium dicere, sed ipsum ad 
semetipsum asserit dixisse Deum, anathema sit." Concil. Syrmiense 
(ibid. p. 68). " Jubet autem his verbis : Faciamus hominem, prodeat 


herba. Ex quibus apparet, Deum cum aliquo sibi proximo 
sermones his de rebus conserere. Necesse est igitur aliquem ei 
adfuisse, cum quo universa condens, colloquium miscebat." Athana- 
sius (Contra Gentes Orat. Ath. Opp. Parisiis, 1627. T. i. p. 51). 
" Professio enim consortii sustulit intelligentiam singularitatis, quod 
consortium aliquid iiec potest esse sibi ipsi solitario, neque rursum 

solitudo solitarii recipit: faciamus Non solitario conveiiit 

dicere : faciamus et nostrarn." Petrus Lomb. (1. i. dist. 2, c. 3, e.) 
The Protestants explain the passage in the same way. " Quod pro- 
fecto aliter intelligi nequit, quam inter i2)sas trinitatis personas quan- 
dam de creando homine institutam fuisse consultationem." Buddeus 
(Comp. Inst. Theol. dog. cur. J. G. Walch. 1. ii. c. i. 45). 
" ' Let us make' is the word of a deliberative council. And from 
these words it necessarily follows again, that in the Godhead there 
must be more than one person For the little word 'us' indi 
cates that he who there speaks is not alone, though the Jews make 
the text ridiculous by saying that there is a way of speaking thus, 
even where there is only one person." Luther (T. i. p. 19). Not 
only consultations, but compacts take place between the chief 
persons in the Trinity, precisely as in human society. " Nihil aliud 
superest, quam ut consensum quemdam patris ac filii adeoque 
quoddam velut pactum (in relation, namely, to the redemption of 
men) inde concludamus." Buddeus (Comp. 1. iv. c. i. 4. Note 
2). And as the essential bond of the Divine Persons is love, the 
Trinity is the heavenly type of the closest bond of love marriage. 

"Nunc Filium Dei precemur, ut spiritu sancto suo, qui nexus 

est et vinculum mutui amoris inter aeternum patrem ac filimn, 
sponsi et sponsse pectora conglutinet." Or. de Conjugio (Declam. 
Melancth. T. iii. p. 453). 

The distinctions in tJie Divine essence oftlie Trinity are, natural, 
physical distinctions. " Jam de proprietatibus personarum videamus 

Et est proprium solius patris, non quod non est natus ipse, 

sed quod unumfiliurn yenuerit, propriumque solius filii, non quod 
ipse non genuit, sed quod de patris essentia natus est." Hylarius 
in 1. iii. de trinitate. "Nos filii Dei sumus, sed non talis hie 
filius. Hie enim verus et proprius est filius origine, non adoptione, 
veritate, non nuncupatione, nativitate, non creatione." Petrus L. 
(1. i. dist. 26, cc. 2, 4). "Quodsi dum eum aeternum confitemur, 
profitemur ipsum Filium ex Patre, quomodo is, qui genitus est, 

genitoris f rater esse potent? Non enim ex aliquo principio 

praeexistente Pater et Filius procreati sunt, ut fratres existimari 
queant, sed Pater principium Filii et geriitor est : et Pater Pater 
est neque ullius Filius fuit, et Filius J?ilius est et non f rater" 
Athanasius (Contra Arianos. Orat. II. Ed. c. T. i. p. 320). " Qui 
(Deus) cum in rebus quae iiascuntur in tempore, sua bonitate 



effecerit, ut suae substantiae prolem quaelibet res gignat, sicut homo 
gignit honiinem, non altering naturae, sed ejus cujus ipse est, vide 
quam impie dicatur ipse non genuisse id quod ipse est" Augustinus 
(Ep. 170, 6. Ed. Antw. 1700). " Ut igitur in natura hominuin 
filium dicimus genitum de substantia patris, similem patri : ita 
secunda persona Filius dicitur, quia de substantia Patris natus est 
et ejus est imago." Melancthon (Loci praecipui Theol. Wite- 
bergae, 1595. p. 30). "As a corporeal son has his flesh and blood 
and nature from his father, so also the Son of God, born of the 
Father, has his divine nature from the Father of Eternity." 
Luther (T. ix. p. 408). H. A. Roel, a theologian of the school of 
Descartes and Coccej us, had advanced this thesis: "Filium Dei, 
Secundam. Deitatis personam improprie dici genitam." This was 
immediately opposed by his colleague, Camp. Vitringa, who de 
clared it an unheard of thesis, and maintained : " Generationem 
Filii Dei ab aeterno propriissime emmciari." Other theologians 
also contended against Koel, and declared : " Generationem in Deo 
esse maxime veram et propriam." (Acta Erudit. Supplem. T. i. S. 
vii. p. 377 etc.) That in the Bible also the Filius Dei signifies 
a real son, is unequivocally implied in this passage : " God so loved 
the world that he gave his only-begotten Son." If the love of God, 
which this passage insists upon is to be regarded as a truth, then the 
Son also must be a truth, and, in plain language, a physical truth. 
On this lies the emphasis, that God gave his own Son for us in 
this alone the proof of his great love. Hence the Herrnhut hymn- 
book correctly apprehends the sense of the Bible when it says of 
" the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is also our Father :" 
" His Son is not too dear. No ! he gives him up for me, that he 
may save me from the eternal fire by his dear blood. Thou hast 
so loved the world, that thy heart consents to give up the Son, thy 
joy and life, to suffering and death." 

God is a threefold being, a trinity of persons, means : God is not 
only a metaphysical, abstract, spiritual, but a physical being. The 
central point of the Trinity is the Son, for the Father is Father only 
through the Son ; but the mystery of the generation of the Son is 
the mystery of physical nature. The Son is the^eed of sensuous- 
ness, or of the heart, satisfied in God ; for all wishes of the heart, 
even the wish for a personal God and for heavenly felicity, are 
sensuous wishes; the heart is essentially materialistic, it con 
tents itself only with an object which is seen and felt. This is 
especially evident in the conception that the Son, even in the midst 
of the Divine Trinity, has the human body as an essential, per 
manent attribute. Ambrosius : " Scriptum est Ephes. i. : Secundum 
carnem igitur omnia ipsi subjecta traduntur." Chrysostomus : 


" Christum secundum carnem pater jussit a cunctis angelis adorari." 
Theodoretus : " Corpus Dominicum surrexit quidem a mortuis, 

divina glorificata gloria corpus tamen est et habet, quam prius 

habuit, circumscriptionem." (See Concordienbuchs-anhang. " Zeug- 
nisse der h. Schrift und Altvater von Christo," and Petrus L. 1. iii. 
dist. 10, cc. 1, 2. See also on this subject Luther, T. xix. pp. 464-468.) 
In accordance with this the United Brethren say : " I will ever em 
brace thee in love and faith, until, when at length my lips are pale 
in death, I shall see thee bodily." " Thy eyes, thy mouth, the body 
wounded for us, on which we so firmly rely, all that I shall behold." 

Hence the Son of God is the darling of the human heart, the 
bridegroom of the soul, the object of a formal, personal love. "O 
Domine Jesu, si adeo sunt dulces istae lachrymae, quae ex memoria 
et desiderio tui excitantur, quam dulce erit gaudium, quod ex 
manifesto, tui visione capietur 1 ? Si adeo dulce estflerepro te, quam 
dulce erit gaudere de te. Sed quid hujusmodi secreta colloquia 
proferimus in publicum? Cur iiieffabiles et innarrabiles affectus 
communibus verbis conamur exprimere? Inexperti talia non tn- 

telligunt. Zelotypus est sponsus iste Delicatus est sponsus iste." 

Scala Claustralium (sive de modo orandi. Among the spurious 
writings of St. Bernard). " Luge propter amorem Jesu Christi, sponsi 
tui, quosque eum videre possis." (De modo bene vivendi. Sermo 
x. id.) " Adspectum Christi, qui adhuc inadspectabilis et absens 
amorem nostrum meruit et exercuit, frequentius scripturae com- 
memorant. Joh. xiv. 3. 1 Joh. iii. 1. 1 Pet. i. 8. 1 Thess. iv. 17. 
Ac quis non jucundum credat videre corpus illud, cujus velut in- 
strumento usus est films Dei ad expianda peccata, et absentem 
tandem amicum salutaref Doederlein (Inst. Theol. Chr. 1. ii. P. 
ii. C. ii. Sect. ii. 302. Obs. 3). " Quod oculis corporis Christum 
visuri simus, dubio caret." J. Fr. Buddeus (Comp. Inst. Theol. 
Dogm. 1. ii. c. iii. 10). 

The distinction between God with the Son, or the sensuous 
God, and God without the Son, or God divested of sensuousness, 
is nothing further than the distinction between the mystical and 
the rational man. The rational man lives and thinks; with him 
life is the complement of thought, and thought the complement 
of life, both theoretically, inasmuch as he convinces himself of 
the reality of sensuousness through the reason itself, and practi 
cally, inasmuch as he combines activity of life with activity of 
thought. That which I have in life, I do not need to posit beyond 
life, in spirit, in metaphysical existence, in God; love, friendship, 
perception, the world in general, give me what thought does not, 
cannot give me, nor ought to give me. Therefore I dismiss the 
needs of "the heart from the sphere of thought, that reason may not 
be clouded by desires ; in the demarcation of activities consists the 

o 2 


wisdom of life and thought ; I do not need a God who supplies by 
a mystical, imaginary physicalness or sensuousness the absence of 
the real. My heart is satisfied, before I enter into intellectual 
activity; hence my thought is cold, indifferent, abstract, i. e. y free, 
in relation to the heart, which oversteps its limits, and improperly 
mixes itself with the afiairs of the reason. Thus, I do not think 
in order to satisfy my heart, but to satisfy my reason, which is not 
satisfied by the heart; I think only in the interest of reason, from 
pure desire of knowledge, I seek in God only the contentment of 
the pure, unmixed intelligence. Necessarily, therefore, the God of 
the rational thinker is another than the God of the heart, which in 
thought, in reason, only seeks its own satisfaction. And this is the 
aim of the mystic, who cannot endure the luminous fire of dis 
criminating and limiting criticism ; for his mind is always beclouded 
by the vapours which rise from the unextinguished ardour of his 
feelings. He never attains to abstract, i. e., disinterested, free 
thought, and for that reason he never attains to the perception of 
things in their naturalness, truth, and reality. 

One more remark concerning the Trinity. The older theologians 
said, that the essential attributes of God as God were made manifest 
by the light of natural reason. But how is it that reason can know 
the Divine Being, unless it be because the divine being is nothing 
else than the objective nature of the intelligence itself? Of the 
Trinity, on the other hand, they said that it could only be known 
through revelation. Why not through reason 1 Because it con 
tradicts reason, i. e., because it does not express a want of the 
reason, but a sensuous, emotional want. In general, the proposition 
that an idea springs from revelation means no more than that it 
has come to us by the way of tradition. The dogmas of religion 
have arisen at certain times out of definite wants, tinder definite 
relations and conceptions ; for this reason, to the men of a later 
time, in which these relations, wants, conceptions, have disappeared, 
they are something unintelligible, incomprehensible, only tradi 
tional, i. e , revealed. The antithesis of revelation and reason 
reduces itself only to the antithesis of history and reason, only to 
this, that mankind at a given time is no longer capable of that 
which at another time it was quite capable of; just as the individual 
man does not unfold his powers at all times indifferently, but only 
in moments of special appeal from without or incitement from 
within. Thus the works of genius arise only under altogether 
special inward and outward conditions which cannot thus coincide 
more than once; they are aira^, Xeyo^eva. "Einmal ist alles wahre 
nur." The true is born but once. Hence a man's own works often 
appear to him in later years quite strange and incomprehensible. 
He no longer knows how he produced them or could produce them, 


i. e., he can no longer explain them out of himself, still less repro 
duce them. And just as it would be folly if, in riper years, because 
the productions of our youth have become strange and inexplicable 
to us in their teiiour and origin, we were to refer them to a special 
inspiration from above ; so it is folly, because the doctrines and 
ideas of a past age are no longer recognised by the reason of a sub 
sequent age, to claim for them a supra- and extrahuman, i. e., an 
imaginary, illusory origin. 


The creation out of nothing expresses the non-divineness, non- 
essentiality, i. e., the nothingness of tJie world. 

That is created which once did not exist, which some time will 
exist no longer, to which, therefore, it is possible not to exist, which 
we can think of as not existing, in a word, which has not its 
existence in itself, is not necessary. " Cum enim res producantur 
ex suo non-esse, possunt ergo absolute non-esse, adeoque implicat, 
quod non sunt necessaries." Duns Scotus (ap. Rixner, B. ii. p. 78). 
But only necessary existence is existence. If I am not necessary, 
do not feel myself necessary, I feel that it is all one whether I 
exist or not, that thus my existence is worthless, nothing. " I am 
nothing," and " I am not necessary," is fundamentally the same 
thing. "Creatio non est motus, sed simplicis divina? voluntatis 
vocatio ad esse eorum, quae antea nihil fuerunt et secundum se ipsa 
et nihil sunt et ex nihilo sunt" Albertus M. (de mirab. scient. 
Dei P. ii. Tr. i. Qu. 4, Art. 5, memb. ii.) But the position that 
the world is not necessary, has no other bearing than to prove that 
the extra, and supramundaiie being (i. e., in fact, the human being) 
is the only necessary, only real being. Since the one is non- 
essential and temporal, the other is necessarily the essential, 
existent, eternal. The Creation is the proof that God is, that 
he is exclusively true and real. " Sanctus Dominus Deus omnipo- 
tens in principio, quod est in te, in sapientia tua, quae nata est de 
substantia tua, fecisti aliquid et de nihilo. Fecisti enim coelum et 
terrain non de te, nam esset aequale unigenito tuo, ac per hoc et 
tibi, et nullo modo justum esset, ut aequale tibi esset, quod in te non 

esset. Et aliud praeter te non erat, unde faceres ea Deus Et 

ideo de nihilo fecisti coelum et terrain." Augustinus (Confessionum 
1. xii. c. 7). " Vere enim ipse est, quia incommutabilis est. Onrnis 

enim mutatio facit non esse quod erat Ei ergo qui summe est, 

non potest esse contrarium nisi quod non est. Si solus ipse incom 
mutabilis, omnia quae fecit, quia ex nihilo id est ex eo quod omnino 
non est fecit, mutabilia sunt." Augustin(de nat.boni adv. Manich. 
cc. 1, 19). " Creatura in nullo debet parificari Deo, si autem non 
habuisset initium durationis et esse, in hoc parijicaretur Deo." 


(Albertus M. 1. c. Quaest. incidens 1). The positive, the essential 
in the world is not that which makes it a world, which distinguishes 
it from God this is precisely its finiteness and nothingness but 
rather that in it which is not itself, which is God. "All creatures 

are a pure nothing they have no essential existence, for their 

existence hangs on the presence of God. If God turned himself 
away a moment, they would fall to nothing." (Predigten vor. u. 
zu. Tauleri Zeiten, ed. c. p. 29. See also Augustine, e. g. Confess. 
1. vii. c. 11). This is quite correctly said from the stand-point of 
religion, for God is the principle of existence, the being of the 
world, though he is represented as a personal Being distinct from 
the world. The world lasts so long as God wills. The world is 
transient, but man eternal. " Quamdiu vult, omnia ejus virtute 
nianent atque consistunt, et finis eorum in Dei voluntatem recurrit, 
et ejus arbitrio resolvuntur." Ambrosius (Hexaemeron. 1. i. c. 5). 

" Spiritus enim a Deo creati nunquam esse desinunt Corpora 

caelestia tarn diu conservantur, quamdiu Deus ea vult permanere." 
Buddeus ( Comp. 1. ii. c. ii. 47). " The dear God does not 
alone create, but what he creates he keeps with his own being, 
until he wills that it shall be no longer. For the time will come 
when the sun, moon, and stars shall be no more." Luther (T. ix. 
s. 418). "The end will come sooner than we think." Id. (T. xi. 
s. 536). By means of the creation out of nothing man gives 
himself the certainty, that the world is nothing, is powerless against 
man. " We have a Lord who is greater than the whole world ; we 
have a Lord so powerful, that when he only speaks all things are 
born../. ..Wherefore should we fear, since he is favourable to us 1 ?" 
Id. (T. vi. p. 293). Identical with the belief in the creation 
out of nothing is the belief in the eternal life of man, in the victory 
over death, the last constraint which nature imposes on man in 
the resurrection of the dead. " Six thousand years ago the world 

was nothing; and who has made the world? The same God 

and Creator can also awake thee from the dead ; he will do it, and 
can do it." Id. (T. xi. p. 426. See also 421, &c.) "We 
Christians are greater and more than all creatures, not in or by 
ourselves, but through the gift of God in Christ, against whom the 
world is nothing, and can do nothing." Id. (T. xi. p. 377). 


The Creation in the Israelitish religion has only a particular, 
egoistic aim and purport. The Israelitish religion is the religion of 
the most narrow-hearted egoism. Even the later Israelites, scat 
tered throughout the world, persecuted and oppressed, adhered 
with immovable firmness to the egoistic faith of their forefathers. 


" Every Israelitish soul by itself is, in the eyes of the blessed God, 
dearer and more precious than all the souls of a whole nation 
besides." " The Israelites are among the nations what the heart is 
among the members." " The end in the creation of the world was 
Israel alone. The world was created for the sake of the Israelites; 
they are the fruit, other nations are their husks." " All the 
heathens are nothing for him (God); but for the Israelites God has 

a use They adore and bless the name of the holy and blessed 

God every day, therefore they are numbered every hour, and made 
as (numerous as) the grains of corn." " If the Israelites were not, 
there would fall no rain on the world, and the sun would not rise 
but for their sakes." " He (God) is our kinsman, and we are his 

kindred No power or angel is akin to us, for the Lord's portion 

is his people" (Deut. xxxii. 9). " He who rises up against an 
Israelite (to injure him), does the same thing as if he rose up 
against God." " If any one smite an Israelite on the cheek, it is 
the same as if he smote the cheek of the divine majesty." Eisen- 
mengers (Entdecktes Judeiithum, T. i. Kap. 14). The Christians 
blamed the Jews for this arrogance, but only because the kingdom 
of God was taken from them and transferred to the Christians. 
Accordingly, we find the same thoughts and sentiments in the 
Christians as in the Israelites. " Know that God so takes thee 
unto himself that thy enemies are his enemies." Luther (T. vi. 
p. 99). "It is the Christians for whose sake God spares the whole 

world The Father makes his sun to rise on the evil and on the 

good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. Yet this 
happens only for the sake of the pious and thankful." (T. xvi. 
p. 506.) " He who despises me, despises God." (T. xi. p. 538.) 
" God suffers, and is despised and persecuted, in us." (T. iv. p. 577.) 
Such declarations as these are, I should think, argumenta ad hominem 
for the identity of God and man, 


The. idea of Providence is the religious consciousness of man's dis 
tinction from the brutes, from Nature in general. "Doth God take 
care for oxen?" (1 Cor. ix. 9.) "Nunquid curae est Deo bobus? 
inquit Paulus. Ad nos ea cura dirigitur, non ad boves, equos, asinos, 
qui in usum nostrum sunt conditi" J . L. Yivis Yal. (de Yeritate Fidei 
chr. Bas. 1544, p. 108). " Providentia Dei in omnibus aliis creaturis 
respicit ad hominem tanquam ad metam suam. Multis passeribus vos 
pluris estis. Matth. x. 31. Propter peccaturn hominis natura subjects, 
est vanitati. Kom. viii. 20." M. Chemnitii (Loci theol. Francof. 
1 608, P. i. p. 312). " Nunquid enim cura est Deo de bobus 1 ? Et sicut 
non est cura Deo de bobus, ita nee de aliis irrationalibus. Dicit tamen, 


scriptura (Sapient, vi.) quia ipsi cura est de omnibus. Providentiam 

ergo et curam universaliter de cunctis, quae condidit, habet Sed 

specialem providentiam atque curam liabet de ratioiialibus." Petrus 
L. (1. i. dist. 39, c. 3). Here we have again an example how Chris 
tian sophistry is a product of Christian faith, especially of faith in 
the Bible as the word of God. First we read that God cares not 
for oxen; then that God cares for everything, and therefore 
for oxen. That is a contradiction; but the word of God must not 
contradict itself. How does faith escape from this contradiction? 
By distinguishing between a general and a special providence. But 
general providence is illusory, is in truth no providence. Only 
special providence is providence in the sense of religion. 

General providence the providence which extends itself equally 
to irrational and rational beings, which makes no distinction be 
tween man and the lilies of the field or the fowls of the air, is 
nothing else than the idea of Nature an idea which man may 
have without religion. The religious consciousness admits this 
when it says : he who denies providence abolishes religion, places 
man on a level with the brutes; thus declaring that the provi 
dence in which the brutes have a share is in truth no providence. 
Providence partakes of the character of its object; hence the pro 
vidence which has plants and animals for its object is in accordance 
with the qualities and relations of plants and animals. Providence 
is nothing else than the inward nature of a thing ; this inward 
nature is its genius, its guardian spirit the necessity of its exist 
ence. The higher, the more precious a being is, the more ground 
of existence it has, the more necessary it is, the less is it open to 
annihilation. Every being is necessary only through that by which 
it is distinguished from other beings ; its specific difference is the 
ground of its existence. So man is necessary only through that by 
which he is distinguished from the brutes; hence providence is 
nothing else than man's consciousness of the necessity of his exist 
ence, of the distinction between his nature and that of other beings; 
consequently, that alone is the true providence in which this specific 
difference of man becomes an object to him. But this providence 
is special, i. e., the providence of love, for only love interests itself 
in what is special to a being. Providence without love is a con 
ception without basis, without reality. The truth of providence is 
love. God loves men, not brutes, not plants; for only for man's 
sake does he perform extraordinary deeds, deeds of love miracles. 
Where there is no community, there is no love. But what bond 
can be supposed to unite brutes, or natural things in general, with 
God? God does not recognise himself in them; for they do not 
recognise him; where I find nothing of myself, how can I love? 
" God who thus promises, does not speak with asses and oxen, as 


Paul says : Doth God take care for oxen 1 but with rational crea 
tures made in his likeness, that they may live for ever with him." 
Luther (T. ii. s. 156.) God is first with himself in man; in man 
first begins religion, providence; for the latter is not something 
different from the former, on the contrary, religion is itself the 
providence of man. He who loses religion, i. e., faith in himself, 
faith in man, in the infinite significance of his being, in the neces 
sity of his existence, loses providence. He alone is forsaken who 
forsakes himself; he alone is lost, who despairs ; he alone is without 
God who is without faith, i. e., without courage. Wherein does 
religion place the true proof of providence? in the phenomena of 
Nature, as they are objects to us out of religion, in astronomy, in 
physics, in natural history 1 ? No ! In those appearances which are 
objects of religion, of faith only, which express only the faith of 
religion in itself, i. e., in the truth and reality of man, in the reli 
gious events, means, and institutions which God has ordained exclu 
sively for the salvation of man, in a word, in miracles ; for the means 
of grace, the sacraments, belong to the class of providential miracles. 
" Quamquam autem haecconsideratiouniversae naturae nos admonet 

de Deo tamen nos referamus initio mentem et oculos ad omnia 

testimonies, in quibus se Deus ecclesiae patefecit ad eductionem ex 
Aegypto, ad vocem sonantem in Sinai, ad Christum resuscitantem 

nwrtuos et resuscitatum, etc Ideo semper defixae sint mentes in 

Jwrum testimoniorum cogitationem et his confirmatae articulum de 
Creatione meditentur, deinde consider ent etiam vestigia Dei impressae 
naturae." Melancthon (Loci de Great, p. 62, ed. cit.). "Mirentur 
alii creationem, mihi magis libet mirari redemptionem. Mirabile est, 
quod caro nostra et ossa nostra a Deo nobis sunt formata, mirabilius 
adhuc est, quod ipse Deus caro de carne nostra et os de ossibus 
nostris fieri voluit." J. Gerhard (Med. s. M. 15). " The heathens 
know God no further than that he is a Creator." Luther (T. ii. 
p. 327). That providence has only man for its essential object, 
is evident from this, that to religious faith all things and 
beings are created for the sake of man. " We are lords not only of 
birds, but of all living creatures, and all things are given for our 
service, and are created only for our sake." Luther (T. ix. p. 281). 
But if things are created only for the sake of man, they are also 
preserved only for the sake of man. And if things are mere instru 
ments of man, they stand under the protection of no law, they are, 
in relation to man, without rights. This outlawing of things explains 

The negation of providence is the negation of God. " Qui ergo pro- 
videntiam tollit, totam Dei substantiam tollit et quid dicit nisi 

Deum non esse 1 Si non curat humana, sive nesciens, cessat 

omiiis causa pietatis, cum sit spes nulla salutis" Joa. Tritheinius 

o 3 


(Tract, de Provicl. Dei). " Nam qui niliil aspici a Deo amrmant 
prope est ut cui adspectum adimunt, etiam substantiam tollant.' 
Salvianus (1. c. 1. iv.). "Aristotle almost falls into the opinion that 
God though he does not expressly name Him a fool is such a one 
that he knows nothing of our affairs, nothing of our designs, under 
stands, sees, regards nothing but himself. But what is such a 

God or Lord to us ? of what use is he to us?" Luther (in Walch's 
Philos. Lexikon, art. Vorsehung). Providence is therefore the 
most undeniable, striking proof, that in religion, in the nature of 
God himself, man is occupied only with himself, that the mystery of 
theology is anthropology, that the substance, the content of the in 
finite being, is the "finite" being. "God sees men," means: in God 
man sees only himself; " God cares for man," means : a God who is 
not active is no real God. But there is no activity without an 
object : it is the object which first converts activity from a mere 
power into real activity. This object is man. If man did not exist, 
God would have no cause for activity. Thus man is the motive 
principle, the soul of God. A God who does not see and hear man, 
who has not man in himself, is blind and deaf, i. e., inert, empty, 
unsubstantial. Thus the fulness of the divine nature is the fulness 
of the human ; thus the Godliead of God is humanity. I for my 
self, is the comfortless mystery of epicureanism, stoicism, pantheism ; 
God for me, this is the consolatory mystery of religion, of Christi 
anity. Is man for God's sake, or God for man's? It is true that 
in religion man exists for God's sake, but only because God exists 
for man's sake. I am for God, because God is for me. 

Providence is identical with miraculous power, supernaturalistic 
freedom from Nature, tJie dominion of arbitrariness over law. 
"Etsi (sc. Deus) sustentat naturam, tamen contra ordinem jussit 

aliquando Solem regredi etc Ut igitur invocatio vere fieri 

possit, cogitemus Deum sic adesse suo opificio, non, ut Stoici fingunt, 
alligatum secundis causis, sed sustentantem naturam et multa suo 

liberrimo consilio moderantem Multa facit prima causa praeter 

secundas, quia est agens liberum." Melancthon (Loci de Causa 
Peccati, pp. 82, 83, ed. cit.) "Scriptura vero tradit, Deum 
in actione providentiae esse agens liberum, qui ut plurimum 
quidem ordinem sui operis servet, illi tamen ordini non sit alligatus, 
sed 1) quicquid facit per causas secundas, illud possit etiam sine 
illis per se solum facere 2) quod ex causis secundis possit alium 
effectum producere, quarn ipsarum dispositio et natura ferat 3) quod 
positis causis secundis in actu, Deus tamen effectum possit impedire, 

mutare, mitigare, exasperare Non igitur est connexio causa- 

rum Stoica in actionibus providentiae Dei." M. Chemnitius (1. c. pp. 
316, 317). " Liberrime Deus imperat naturae Naturam saluti 
hominuin attemperat propter Ecclesiam Omnino tribuendus 


est Deo hie honos, quod possit et velit opitulari nobis, etiam cum a 
tota natura destituiniur, contra seriem omnium secundarum causa- 

rum Et multa accidunt plurimis hominibus, in quibus mirandi 

eventus fateri eos cogunt, se a Deo sinecausis secundis servatosesse." 
C. Peucerus (de Praecip. Divinat. gen. Servestae, 1591, p. 44). " Ille 
tamen qui omnium est conditor, nullis instruments indiget. Nam. 
si id continue fit, quicquid ipse vult, velle illius erit author atque 
instrumentum ; nee magis ad haec regenda astris indiget, quam cum 
luto aperuit oculos coeci, sicut refert historia Evangelica. Lutnm 
enim magis videbatur obturaturum oculos, quam apertururn. Sed 
ipse ostendere nobis voluit omnem naturam esse sibi instrumentum 
ad quidvis, quantumcunque alienum" J. L. Vives (1. c. 102). 
" How is this to be reconciled ? The air gives food and nourishment, 
and here stones or rocks flow with water; it is a marvellous gift. 
And it is also strange and marvellous that corn grows out of the 
earth. Who has this art and this power 1 God has it, who can do 
such unnatural things, that we may thence imagine what sort of a 
God he is and what sort of power he has, that we may not be 
terrified at him nor despair, but firmly believe and trust him, that 
he can make the leather in the pocket into gold, and can make dust 
into corn on the earth, and the air a cellar for me full of wine. 
He is to be trusted, as having such great power, and we may know 
that we have a God who can perform these deeds of skill, and that 
around him it rains and snows with miraculous works." Luther 
(T. iii. p. 594). 

The omnipotence of Providence is the omnipotence of human feel 
ing releasing itself from all conditions and laws of Nature. This 
omnipotence is realized by prayer. Prayer is Almighty. " The 

prayer of faith shall save the sick The effectual fervent prayer 

of a righteous man availeth much. Elias was a man subject to like 
passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain ; 
and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six 
months. And he prayed again, and the heavens gave rain and the 
earth brought forth her fruit." James v. 15 18. "If ye have 
faith and doubt not, ye shall not only do this which is done to the 
fig-tree, but also if ye shall say unto this mountain, Be thou re 
moved and be thou cast into the sea, it shall be done, and all things 
whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." 
Matt. xxi. 21, 22. That under this mountain which the power of 
faith is to overcome are to be understood not only very difficult 
things res difficillimae, as the exegetists say, who explain this 
passage as a proverbial, hyperbolical mode of speech among the 
Jews, but rather things which according to Nature and reason are 
impossible, is proved by the case of the instantaneously withered 
fig-tree, to which the passage in question refers. Here indubitably 


is declared the omnipotence of prayer, of faith, before which the 
power of Nature vanishes into nothing. " Mutantur quoque adpreces 
ea quae ex naturae causis erant sequutura, quemadmodum. in 
Ezechia contigit, rege Juda, cui, quod naturales causarum progressus 
mortem minabantur, dictum est a propheta Dei : Morieris et non 
rives; sedisdecursus naturae ad regispreces mutatus est et mutaturum 
se Deus praeviderat." J. L. Vives (1. c. p. 132). " Saepe fatorum 
saevitiam leiiit Deus, placatus piorum votis." Melancthon (Epist. 
Sim. Grynaeo). " Cedit natura rerum ftrecibus Moysi, Eliae, Elisaei, 
Jesaiae et omnium piorum, sicut Christus inquit Matt. 2 1 : Omnia 
quae petetis, credentes accipietis." Id. (Loci de Great, p. 64, ed. cit.) 
Celsus calls on the Christians to aid the Emperor and not to de 
cline military service. Whereupon Origen answers : " Precibus 
nostris profligantes omnes bellorum excitatores daemonas et pertur- 
batores pacis ac foederum plus conferimus regibus, quam qui arma 
gestant pro Republica." Origenes (adv. Celsum. S. Glenio int. 1. 
viii.) Human need is the necessity of the Divine Will. In 
prayer man is the active, the determining, God the passive, the 
determined. God does the will of man. " God does the will of 

those that fear him, and he gives his will up to ours Eor the 

text says clearly enough, that Lot was not to stay in all the plain, 
but to escape to the mountain. But this his wish God changes, 
because Lot fears him and prays to him." "And we have other 
testimonies in the Scriptures, which prove that God allows himself 
to be turned and subjects his will to our wish." " Thus it was 
according to the regular order of God's power, that the sun should 
maintain its revolution and wonted course ; but when Joshua in 
his need called on the Lord and commanded the sun, that it should 
stand still, it stood still at Joshua's word. How great a miracle 
this was, ask the astronomers." Luther (T. ii. p. 226). " Lord, I 
am here and there in great need and danger of body and soul, and 
therefore want thy help and comfort. Item : I must have this and 
that ; therefore I entreat thee that thou give it me." " He who so 
prays and perseveres unabashed, does right, and our Lord God is 
well pleased with him, for He is not so squeamish as we men." 
Id. (T. xvi. p. 150). 


Faith is the freedom and blessedness which feeling finds in it 
self. Feeling objective to itself and active in this freedom, the 
reaction of feeling against Nature, is the arbitrariness of the 
imagination. The objects of faith t/ierefore necessarily contradict 
Nature, necessarily contradict Reason, as that which represents the 
nature of things. " Quid magis contra fidem, quam credere nolle, 
quidquid non possit ratione attingere? Nam illam quae in 


Deum est fides, beatus papa Gregorius negat plane habere meritum, si 
ei humana ratio praebeat experinientum." Bernardus (contr. Abe- 
lard. Ep. ad DOHI. Papam Innocentium). " Partus virginis nee ratione 
colligitur, nee exemplo monstratur. Quodsi ratione colligitur, non 
erit mirabile" Cone. Toletaii. XI. Art. IY. (Summa. Carranza.) 
" Quid autem incredibile, si contra usum originis naturalis peperit 
Maria et virgo permanet : quando contra usum naturae mare vidit 
et fugit atque in fontem suum Jordanis fluenta remearunt? Non 
ergo excedit fidem, quod virgo peperit, quando legimus, quod petra 
vomuit aquas et in montis speciem maris unda solidata est. Non 
ergo excedit fidern, quod homo exivit de virgine, quando petra pro- 
fluit, scaturivit ferrum supra aquas, ambulavit homo supra aquas." 
Ambrosius (Epist. L. x. Ep. 81. Edit. Basil. Amerbach. 1492 et 

1516). " Mira sunt fratres, quae de isto sacramento dicuntur 

Haec sunt quae fidem necessario exigunt, rationem omnino non 
admittunt." Bernardus (de Coena Dom.). " Quid ergo hie quaeris 
naturae ordinem in Christ! corpore, cum praeter naturam sit ipse 
partus ex virgine." Petrus Lomb. (1. iv. dist. 10, c. 2). " Laus 
fidei est credere quod est supra rationem, ubi homo abnegat intel- 
lectum et omnes sensus" (Addit. Henrici de Vurimaria. Ibid, 
dist. 12, c. 5.) "All the articles of our faith appear foolish and 

ridiculous to reason." We Christians seem fools to the world 

for believing that Mary was the true mother of this child, and was 
nevertheless a pure virgin. For this is not only against all reason, 
but also against the creation of God, who said to Adam and Eve, 
" Be fruitful and multiply." " We ought not to inquire whether 
a thing be possible, but we should say, God has said it, therefore 
it will happen, even if it be impossible. For although I cannot 
see or understand it, yet the Lord can make the impossible 
possible, and out of nothing can make all things." Luther (T. xvi. 
pp. 148, 149, 570). "What is more miraculous than that God and 
man is one Person 1 that he is the Son of God and the Son of Mary, 
and yet only one Son 1 Who will comprehend this mystery in all 
eternity, that God is man, that a creature is the Creator, and the 
Creator a creature 1" Id. (T. vii. p. 128). The essential object 
of faith, therefore, is miracle; but not common, visible miracle, 
which is an object even to the bold eye of curiosity and unbelief in 
general ; not the appearance, but the essence of miracle ; not the 
fact, but the miraculous power, the Being who works miracles, who 
attests and reveals himself in miracle. And this miraculous power 
is to faith always present; even Protestantism believes in the un 
interrupted perpetuation of miraculous power; it only denies the 
necessity that it should still manifest itself in special visible signs, 
for the furtherance of dogmatic ends. " Some have said that signs 
were the revelation of the Spirit in the commencement of Chris- 


tianity and have now ceased. That is not correct ; for there is 
even now such a power, and though it is not used, that is of no im 
portance. For we have still the power to perform such signs." 
"Now, however, that Christianity is spread abroad and made 
known to all the world, there is no need to work miracles, as in 
the times of the apostles. But if there were need for it, if the 
Gospel were oppressed and persecuted, we must truly apply our 
selves to this, and must also work miracles." Luther (T. xiii. pp. 
642, 648). Miracle is* so essential, so natural to faith, that to it 
even natural phenomena are miracles, and not in the physical sense, 
but in the theological, supranaturalistic sense. " God, in the be 
ginning, said : Let the earth bring forth grass and herbs, &c. 
That same word which the Creator spoke brings the cherry out of 
the dry bough, and the cherry-tree out of the little kernel. It is 
the omnipotence of God which makes young fowls and geese come 
out of the eggs. Thus God preaches to us daily of the resurrection 
of the dead, and has given us as many examples and experiences of 
this article as there are creatures." Luther (T. x. p. 432. See also 
T. iii. pp. 586, 592, and Augustine, e. g. Enarr. in Ps. 90 ; Sermo 
ii. c. 6). If, therefore, faith desires and needs no special miracle, 
this is only because to it everything is fundamentally miracle, 
everything an effect of divine, miraculous power. Religious faith 
has no sense, no perception for Nature. Nature, as it exists for us, 
has no existence for faith. To it the will of God is alone the 

ground, the bond, the necessity of things. " God could indeed 

have made us men, as he did Adam and Eve, by himself, without 
father and mother, as he could reign without princes, as he could 
give light without sun and stars, and bread without fields and 
ploughs and labour. But it is not his will to do thus." Luther 
(T. xvi. p. 614). It is true " God employs certain means, and so 
conducts his miraculous works as to use the service of Nature and 
instruments." Therefore we ought truly on very natural grounds 
" not to despise the means and instruments of Nature." " Thus 
it is allowable to use medicine, nay, it ought to be used, for it is a 
means created in order to preserve health." Luther (T. i. p. 508). 
But and that alone is decisive it is not necessary that I should 
use natural means in order to be cured; I can be cured imme 
diately by God. What God ordinarily does by means of Nature, 
he can also do without, nay, in opposition to Nature, and actually 
does it thus, in extraordinary cases, when he will. " God," says 
Luther in the same place, " could indeed easily have preserved 
Noah and the animals through a whole year without food, as he 
preserved Moses, Elijah, and Christ forty days without any food." 
Whether he does it often or seldom is indifferent; it is enough if 
he only does it once; what happens once can happen innumerable 


times. A single miracle has universal significance the signi 
ficance of an example. " This deed, the passage through the Red 
Sea, happened as a figure and example, to show us that it will be 
so with us." Luther (T. iii. p. 596). " These miracles are written 
for us, who are chosen." Ib. (T. ix. p. 142). The natural means 
which God employs when he does no miracle, have no more signi 
ficance than those which he employs when he performs miracles. 
If the animals, God so willing it, can live as well without food as 
with it, food is in itself as unnecessary for the preservation of life, 
as indifferent, as non-essential, as arbitrary, as the clay with which 
Christ anointed the eyes of the blind man to whom he restored 
sight, as the staff with which Moses divided the sea ("God 
could have done it just as well without the staff"). "Faith is 
stronger than heaven and earth, or all creatures." " Faith turns 
water into stones ; out of fire it can bring water, and out of water 
fi r e." -Luther (T. iii. pp. 564, 565). That is to say, for faith there 
exists no limit, no law, no necessity, no Nature; there exists only 
the will of God, against which all things and powers are nothing. 
If therefore the believer, when in sickness and distress, has 
recourse notwithstanding to natural means, he only follows the 
voice of his natural reason. The one means of cure which is con 
gruous with faith, which does not contradict faith, which is not 
thrust upon it, whether consciously and voluntarily or not, from 
without, the one remedy for all evil and misery is prayer; for 
"prayer is almighty." Luther (T. iv. p. 27). Why then use a 
natural means also ? For even in case of its application, the effect 
which follows is by no means its own, but the effect of the super 
natural will of God, or rather the effect of faith, of prayer ; for 
prayer, faith determines the will of God. " Thy faith hath saved 
thee." Thus the natural means which faith recognises in practice 
it nullifies in theory, since it makes the effect of such means an 
effect of God, i. e., an effect which could have taken place just as 
well without this means. The natural effect is therefore nothing 
else than a circumstantial, covert, concealed miracle ; a miracle 
however which has not the appearance of a miracle, but can only 
be perceived as such by the eyes of faith. Only in expression, not 
in fact, is there any difference between an immediate and mediate, 
a miraculous and natural operation of God. When faith makes use 
of a natural means, it speaks otherwise tluan it thinks ; when it 
supposes a miracle it speaks as it thinks, but in both cases it 
thinks the same. In the mediate agency of God faith is in dis 
union with itself, for the senses here deny what faith affirms ; in 
miracle, 011 the contrary, it is at one with itself, for there the ap 
pearance coincides with the reality, the senses with faith, the ex 
pression with the fact. Miracle is the terminus technicus of faith. 



The Resurrection of Christ is bodily, i. e., personal immortality, 
presented as a sensible indubitable fact. 

" Resurrexit Christus, absoluta res est. Ostendit se ipsuni dis- 

cipulis et fidelibus suis: contrectata est soliditas corporis Con- 

firmatatides estnon solum in cordibus, sed etiam in oculis hominum." 
Augustinus (Serniones ad Pop. S. 242, c. 1. S. 361, c. 8. See 
also on this subject Melancthon, Loci: de Resurr. Mort.). "The 

philosophers held that by death the soul was released from the 

body, and that after it was thus set free from the body, as from a 
prison, it came into the assembly of the gods, and was relieved 
from all corporeal burthens. Of such an immortality the philo 
sophers allowed men to dream, though they did not hold it to 
be certain, nor could defend it. But the Holy Scriptures teach of 
the resurrection and eternal life in another manner, and place the 
hope of it so certainly before our eyes, that we cannot doubt it." 
Luther (T. i. p. 549). 


Christianity made man an extramundane, supernatural being. 
" We have here no abiding city, but we seek one to come." Heb. 
xiii. 14. "Whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from 
the Lord." 2 Cor. v. 6. " If in this body, which is properly our 
own, we are strangers, and our life in this body is nothing else than 
a pilgrimage; how much more then are the possessions which we 
have for the sake of the body, such as fields, houses, gold, <fcc., 
nothing else than idle, strange things, to be used as if we were on a 
pilgrimage?" " Therefore we must in this life live like strangers 
until we reach the true fatherland, and receive a better life which 
is eternal." Luther (T. ii. pp. 240, 370 a). " Our conversation 
(TroX/T-ev/ja, civitas aut jus civitatis) is in heaven, from whence also 
we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change 
our vile body that it may be like unto his glorious body, according 
to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto 
himself." Phil. iii. 20, 21. " Neque mundus generat hominem, neque 
mundi Jwmo pars est. Lactantius (Div. Inst. 1. ii. c. 6). " Coelum 
de mundo : homo supra mundum" Ambrosius (Epist. 1. vi. Ep. 
38, ed. cit.). " Agnosce o homo dignitatem tuam, agnosce gloriam 

conditionis humanae. Est enim tibi cum mundo corpus sed 

est tibi etiam sublimius aliquid, nee omnino comparandus es 
caeteris creaturis" Bernardus (Opp. Basil. 1552, p. 79). "At 
Christianus ita supra totum mundum ascendit, nee consistit 


in coeli convexis, sed transcensis mente locis supercoelestibus 
ductu divini spiritus velut jam extra mundum raptus offert 
Deo preces." Origenes (contra Celsum. ed. Hoeschelio, p. 370). 
" Totus quidem iste mundus adunius animae preiium aestimari non 
potest. Non enim pro toto mundo Deus animam suam dare voluit, 
quam pro anima humana dedit. Sublimius est ergo animae pre- 
tium, quae non nisi sanguine Christi redimi potest." Medit. devotiss. 
c. ii. (Among the spurious writings of St. Bernard.) " Sapiens 

anima Deum tantummodo sapiens hominem in homine exuit, 

Deoque plene et in omnibus affecta, omnem infra Deum creaturam 
non aliter quam Deus attendit. Relicto ergo corpore et corporeis 
omnibus curis et impediments omnium quae sunt praeter Deum 
obliviscitur, niliilque praeter Deum attendens quasi se solam, 
solumque Deum existimans," etc. De Nat. et Dign. Amoris Divini 
cc. 14, 15. (Ib.) " Quid agis frater in saeculo, qui major es mundoT' 
Hieronymus (ad Heliod. de Laude Yitae solit.). 


The celibate and monachism of course only in their original, 
religious significance and form are sensible manifestations, neces 
sary consequences, of the supranaturalistic, extramundane character 
of Christianity. It is true that they also contradict Christianity ; 
the reason of this is shown by implication in the present work ; but 
only because Christianity is itself a contradiction. They contra 
dict exoteric, practical, but not esoteric, theoretical Christianity; 
they contradict Christian love so far as this love relates to man, 
but not Christian faith, not Christian love so far as it loves man 
only for God's sake. There is certainly nothing concerning celibacy 
and monachism in the Bible ; and that is very natural. In the 
beginning of Christianity the great matter was the recognition of 
Jesus as the Christ, the Messiah the conversion of the heathens 
and Jews. And this conversion was the more pressing, the nearer 
the Christians supposed the day of judgment and the destruction 
of the world; periculum in mora. There was not time or oppor 
tunity for a life of quietude, for the contemplation of monachism. 
Hence there necessarily reigned at that time a more practical and 
even liberal sentiment than at a later period, when Christianity 
had attained to worldly dominion, and thus the enthusiasm of 
proselytism was extinguished. " Apostoli (says the Church, quite 
correctly: Carranza, 1. c. p. 256) cum fides indperet, ad fidelium 
imbecillitatem se magis demittebant, cum autem evangelii prae- 
dicatio sit magis ampliata, oportet et Pontifices ad perfectam con- 
tinentiam vitam suam dirigere." When once Christianity realized 


itself in a worldly form, it must also necessarily develop the 
supranaturalistic, supramundane tendency of Christianity into a 
literal separation from the world. And this disposition to separa 
tion from life, from the body, from the world, this first hyper- 
cosmic then anti-cosmic tendency, is a genuinely biblical disposi 
tion and spirit. In addition to the passages already cited, and 
others universally known, the following may stand as examples; 
"He that hateth his life in this world, shall keep it unto life 
eternal." " I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no 
good thing." Rom. vii. 18. ("Veteres enim omnis vitiositatis in 
agendo origenes ad corpus referebant." J. G. Rosenmiiller Scholia.) 
" Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm 
yourselves also with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in 
the flesh hath ceased from sin." 1 Pet. iv. 1. "I have a desire to 
depart, and to be with Christ." Phil. i. 23. " We are confident 
and willing rather to be absent from the body and present with the 
Lord." 2 Cor. v. 8. Thus, according to these passages, the parti 
tion-wall between God and man is the body (at least the fleshly, 
actual body) ; thus the body as a hindrance to union with God is 
sometliing worthless, to be denied. That by the world, which 
is denied in Christianity, is by no means to be understood a life 
of mere sensuality, but the real objective world, is to be inferred in 
a popular manner from the belief that at the advent of the Lord, 
i. e., the consummation of the Christian religion, heaven and earth 
will pass away. 

The difference between the belief of the Christians and that of the 
heathen philosophers as to the destruction of the world is not to be 
overlooked. The Christian destruction of the world is only a crisis 
of faith, the separation of the Christian from all that is anti- 
christiaii, the triumph of faith over the world, a judgment of God, 
an anti-cosmical, supernaturalistic act. " But the heavens and the 
earth which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved 
unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly 
men." 2 Pet. iii. 7. The heathen destruction of the world, is a 
crisis of the Cosmos itself, a process which takes place according to 
law, which is founded in the constitution of Nature. " Sic origo 
mundi, non minus solem et lunam et vices siderum et animalium 
ortus, quam quibus mutarentur terrena, contiuuit. In his fait 
inundatio, quae non secus quam hiems, quam aestas, lege mundi 
venit." Seneca (Nat. Qu. 1. iii. c. 29). It is the principle of life 
immanent in the world, the essence of the world itself, which evolves 
this crisis out of itself. " A qua et ignis terrenis dominaiitur. Ex 
his ortus et ex his interitus est" (Ibid. c. 28.) " Quidquid est, non 
erit; necperibit, sed resolvetur." (Idem Epist. 71.) The Christians 
excluded themselves from the destruction of the world. " And he 


shall send liis angels with a great sound of a trumpet ; and they 
shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of 
heaven to the other." Matt. xxiv. 31. " But there shall not a hair 

of your head perish And then shall they see the Son of Man 

coming in a cloud with power and great glory. And when these 
things begin to come to pass, then look up and lift up your heads; 
for your redemption draweth nigh." Luke xxi. 18, 27, 28. "Watch 
ye therefore and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to 
escape all these things that shall come to pass, and to stand before 
the Son of Man." Ib. 36. The heathens, on the contrary, identified 
their fate with the fate of the world. "Hoc universum, quod omnia 

divina humanaque complectitur dies aliquis dissipabit et in 

confusionem veterem tenebrasque demerget. Eat nunc aliquis 
et singulas comploret animas. Quis tarn superbae impotentisque 
arrogantiae est, ut in hac naturae necessitate, omnia ad eundem 
finem revocantis, se unum ac suos seponi velit" Seneca (Cons, ad 
Polyb. cc. 20, 21). "Ergo quandoque erit terminus rebus humanis. 

Non muri quenquain, non turres tuebuntur. Non proderunt 

templa awpplicibiw* (Nat. Qu. L. iii. c. 29.) Thus here we have again 
the characteristic distinction between heathenism and Christianity. 
The heathen forgot himself in the world, the Christian forgot the 
world in himself. And as the heathen identified his destructio 
with the destruction of the world, so he identified his immortality 
with the immortality of the world. To the heathen, man was a 
common, to the Christian, a select being ; to the latter immortality 
was a privilege of man, to the former a common good which he vin 
dicated to himself only because, and in so far as, he assigned to other 
beings a share in it also. The Christians expected the destruction of 
the world immediately, because the Christian religion has in it no 
cosmical principle of development : all which developed itself in 
Christendom developed itself only in contradiction with the original 
nature of Christianity ; because by the existence of God in the 
flesh, i. e., by the immediate identity of the species with the indivi 
dual, everything was attained, the thread of history was cut short, no 
other thought of the future remained than the thought of a repetition, 
of the second coming of the Lord. The heathens, on the contrary, 
placed the destruction of the world in the distant future, because, 
living in the contemplation of the universe, they did not set heaven 
and earth in motion on their own account, because they extended 
and freed their self-consciousness by the consciousness of the species, 
placed immortality only in the perpetuation of the species, and thus 
did not reserve the future to themselves, but left it to the coming 
generations. " Yeniet tempus quo posteri nostri tain aperta nos 
nescisse mirentur." Seneca (Nat. Qu. 1. vii. c. 25). He who places 
immortality in himself abolishes the principle of historical develop- 


ment. The Christians did indeed, according to Peter, expect a new 
heaven and a new earth. But with this Christian, i. e., super- 
terrestrial earth, the theatre of history is for ever closed, the end of 
the actual world is come. The heathens, on the contrary, set no 
limits to the development of the Cosmos ; they supposed the world 
to be destroyed only to arise again renovated as a real world; they 
granted it eternal life. The Christian destruction of the world 
was a matter of feeling, an obj ect of fear and longing ; the heathen, 
a matter of reason, an inference from the contemplation of nature. 

Unspotted Virginity is the principle of Salvation, the principle of the 
regenerate Christian world. " Virgo genuit mundi salutem ; virgo 

peperit vitam universorum Virgo portavit, quern mundus 

iste capere aut sustinere non potest Per virum autem et 

mulierem caro ejecta de paradiso : per virginem juncta est Deo." 
Ambrosius (Ep. L. x. Ep. 82). " Jure laudatur bona uxor, sed 
melius pia virgo praefertur, dicente Apostolo. (1 Cor. vii.) Bonum 
conjugium, per quod est inventa posteritas successionis humanae; 
sed melius virginitas, per quam regni coelestis haereditas acquisita 
et coelestium meritorum reperta successio. Per mulierem cura 
successit: per virginem solus evenit." (Id. Ep. 81.) " Castitas 

jungit hominem coelo Bona est castitas conjugalis, sed melior 

est continentia vidualis. Optima vero integritas virginalis." De 
modo bene vivendi. Sermo 22. (Among the spurious writings of 
Bernard.) " Pulchritudinem hominisnon concupiscas" (ibid. S. 23). 

" JFornicatio major est omnibus peccatis Audi beati Isidori 

verba: Fornicatione coinquinari deterius est omni peccato." (Ibid.) 
" Virginitas cui gloriae merito non praefertur? Angelicae? Angelus 
habet virginitatem, sed non carnem, sane felicior, quam. fortior in 
hac parte." Bernardus (Ep. 113, ad Sophiam Virginem). " Me 
mento semper, quod paradisi colonum de possessione sua mulier 
ejecerit. Hieronymus (Ep. Nepotiano). " In paradiso virginitas 

conversabatur Ipse Christus virginitatis gloria non modo ex 

patre sine initio et sine duorum concursu genitus, sed et homo 
secundum nos factus, super nos ex virgine sine alieno consortio 
incarnatus est. Et ipse virginitatem veram et perfectam esse, in se 
ipso demonstravit. Unde Jianc nobis legem non statuit (non enim 
omnes capiunt verbum hoc, ut ipse dixit) sed opere nos erudivit" 
Joan. Damasc. (Orthod. fidei, 1. iv. c. 25). 

Now if abstinence from the satisfaction of the sensual impulse, the 
negation of difference of sex and consequently of sexual love, for 
what is this without the other? is the principle of the Christian 
heaven and salvation ; then necessarily the satisfaction of the sexual 
impulse, sexual love, on which marriage is founded, is the source of 
sin and evil. And so it is held. The mystery of original sin is the 
mystery of sexual desire. All men are conceived in sin because they 


were conceived with sensual, i. e., natural pleasure. The act of genera 
tion, as an act of sensual enjoyment, is sinful. Sin is propagated from 
Adam down to us, simply because its propagation is the natural act 
of generation. This is the mystery of Christian original sin. " Atque 
hie quam alienus a vero sit, etiam hie reprehenditur, quod voluptatem 
in homine Deo authore creatam asserit principaliter. Sed hoc divinae 
scriptura redarguit, quae serpentis insidiis atque illecebris infusam 
Adae atque Evae voluptatem docet, siquidem ipse serpens voluptas 

sit Quomodo igitur voluptas ad paradisum revocare nos potest, 

quae sola nos paradiso exuitf Ambrosius (Ep. L. x. Ep. 82). 
" Voluptas ipsa sine culpa nullatenus esse potest." Petrus L. (1. iv. 
dist. 31, c. 5). " Onmes in peccatis nati sumus, et ex carnis delec- 
tatione concepti culpam originalem nobiscum traximus." Gregorius 
(Petrus L. 1. ii. dist. 30, c. 2). " Firmissime tene et nullatenus 
dubites, omnem hominem, qui per concubitum viri et mulieris coii- 

cipitur, cum originali peccato nasci Ex his datur intelligi, 

quid sit originate peccatum, scl. vitium concupiscentiae, quod in 
omiies concupisceiitialiter natos per Adam intravit." (Ibid. c. 3, see 
also dist. 31, c. 1.) " Peccati causa ex came est." Ambrosius (ibid.) 
" Christus peccatum non habet, nee originale traxit, nee suum addidit : 
extra voluptatem carnalis libidinis venit, non ibi fuit complexus 

maritalis Omnis generatus, damnatus." Augustinus (Serni. 

ad pop. S. 294, cc. 10, 16). "TLomonatus de muliere et ob hoc cum 
reatu Bernardus (de consid. 1. ii.) " Peccatum quomodo non 

fuit, ubi libido non defuit ? Quo pacto, inquam, aut sanctus 

asseretur conceptus, qui de spiritu s. non est, ne dicam de peccato est?" 
Id. (Epist. 174. Edit, cit.) "All that is born into the world of 
man and woman is sinful, under God's anger and curse, condemned 
to death." " All men born of a father and mother are children of 
wrath by nature, as St. Paul testifies, Ephes. ii." " We have by 
nature a tainted, sinful conception and birth." Luther (T. xvi. 
246, 573). It is clear from these examples, that "carnal inter 
course"- even a kiss is carnal intercourse is the radical sin, the 
radical evil of mankind; and consequently the basis of marriage, 
the sexual impulse, honestly outspoken, is a product of the devil. 
It is true that the creature as the work of God is good, but it has 
long ceased to exist as it was created. The devil has alienated the 
creature from God and corrupted it to the very foundation. 
" Cursed be the ground for thy sake." The fall of the creature, 
however, is only an hypothesis by which faith drives from its mind 
the burdensome, disquieting contradiction, that Nature is a product 
of God, and yet, as it actually is, does not harmonize with God, i. e., 
with the Christian sentiment. 

Christianity certainly did not pronounce the flesh as flesh, matter 
as matter, to be something sinful, impure; on the contrary, it 


contended vehemently against the heretics who held this opinion 
and rejected marriage. (See for example Augustiu. Contra 
Faustum, 1. 29, c. 4, 1. 30, c. 6. Clemens Alex. Stromata, 
lib. iii. and Bernard: Super Cantica, Sermo 66.) But quite 
apart from the hatred to heretics which so inspired the holy 
Christian church and made it so politic, this protest rested on 
grounds which by no means involved the recognition of Nature 
as such, and under limitations, i. e., negations, which make the 
recognition of Nature merely apparent and illusory. The distinc 
tion between the heretics and the orthodox is only this, that the 
latter said indirectly, covertly, secretly, what the former declared 
plainly, directly, but for that very reason offensively. Pleasure is 
not separable from matter. Material pleasure is nothing further, 
so to speak, than the joy of matter in itself, matter proving itself 
by activity. Every joy is self-activity, every pleasure a manifestation 
of force, energy. Every organic function is, in a normal condition, 
united with enjoyment; even breathing is a pleasurable act, which 
is not perceived as such only because it is an uninterrupted process. 
He therefore who declares generation, fleshly intercourse, as such, 
to be pure, but fleshly intercourse united with sensual pleasure to 
be a consequence of original sin and consequently itself a sin, acknow 
ledges only the dead, not the living flesh he raises a mist before 
us, he condemns, rejects the act of generation, and matter in general, 
though under the appearance of not rejecting it, of acknow 
ledging it. The unhypocritical, honest acknowledgment of sensual 
life is the acknowledgment of sensual pleasure. In. brief, he who, 
like the Bible, like the Church, does not acknowledge fleshly 
pleasure that, be it understood, which is natural, normal, insepar 
able from life does not acknowledge the flesh. That which is not 
recognised as an end in itself (it by no means follows that it should 
be the ultimate end) is in truth not recognised at all. Thus he who 
allows me wine only as medicine, forbids me the enjoyment of wine. 
Let not the liberal supply of wine at the wedding at Cana be urged. 
For that scene transports us, by the metamorphosis of water into 
wine, beyond Nature into the region of supernaturalism. Where, as 
in Christianity, a supernatural, spiritual body is regarded as the 
true, eternal body, i. e., a body from which all objective, sensual 
impulses, all flesh, all nature, is removed, there real, i. e., sensual, 
fleshly matter is denied, is regarded as worthless, nothing. 

Certainly Christianity did not make celibacy a law (save at a 
later period for the priests). But for the very reason that 
chastity, or rather privation of marriage, of sex, is the highest, 
the most transcendent, supernaturalistic, heavenly virtue, it can 
not and must not be lowered into a common object of duty; it 
stands above the law, it is the virtue of Christian grace and free 
dom. " Christus hortatur idoneos ad coelibalum. ut donuin recte 


idem Christus iis, qui puritatem extra conjugium non 
retinent, praecipit, ut pure in conjugio vivant." Melancthon. (Re- 
sponsio ad Colonienses. Declam. T. iii.) " Virginitas non estjussa, 
sed admonita, quia nimis est excelsa" De modo bene viv. (Sermo 
21.) "Et qui matrimonio jungit virginem suam, benefacit, et qui 
non jungit, melius facit. Quod igitur bonum est, non vitanclum est, 
et quod est melius eligendum est. Itaque non imponitur, sed pro- 
ponitur. Et ideo bene Apostolus dixit: De virginibus autem 
praecepturn non habeo, consilium autem do. Ubi praeceptum est, 

ibi lex est, ubi consilium, ibi gratia est Praeceptum enim 

castitatis est, consilium integritatis Sed nee vidua praeceptum 

accipit, sed consilium. Consilium autem non semel datum, sed 
saepe repetitmn." Ambrosius (Liber, de viduis). That is to say : 
celibacy, abstinence from marriage, is no law in the common or 
Jewish sense, but a law in the Christian sense, or for the Christian 
sentiment, which takes Christian virtue and perfection as the rule 
of conscience, as the ideal of feeling, no despotic but a friendly 
law, no public but a secret, esoteric law a mere counsel, i. e., a 
law which does not venture to express itself as a law, a law for 
those of finer feelings, not for the great mass. Thou mayst marry; 
yes indeed ! without any fear of committing a sin, i. e., a public, 
express, plebeian sin ; but thou dost all the better if thou dost not 
marry ; meanwhile this is only my undictatorial, friendly advice. 
Omnia licent, sed omnia non expediunt. What is allowed in the first 
member of the sentence is retracted in the second. Licet, says the 
man ; non expedit, says the Christian. But only that which is good 
for the Christian is for the man, so far as he desires to be a Chris 
tian, the standard of doing and abstaining. " Quae non expediunt, 
nee licent'" such is the conclusion arrived at by the sentiment of 
Christian nobility. Marriage is therefore only an indulgence to 
the weakness, or rather the strength of the flesh, a taint of nature 
in Christianity, a falling short of the genuine, perfect Christian 
sentiment; being, however, nevertheless good, laudable, even holy, 
in so far as it is the best antidote to fornication. For its own sake, 
as the self-enjoyment of sexual love, it is not acknowledged, not 
consecrated ; thus the holiness of marriage in Christianity is only 
an ostensible holiness, only illusion, for that which is not acknow 
ledged for its own sake is not acknowledged at all, while yet there 
is a deceitful show of acknowledgment. Marriage is sanctioned 
not in order to hallow and satisfy the flesh, but to restrict the flesh, 
to repress it, to kill it to drive Beelzebub out by Beelzebub. " Quae 
res et viris et feminis omnibus adest ad matrimonium et stuprum 1 ? 
Commixtio carnis scilicet, cujus concupiscentiam Dominus stupro 

adaequavit Ideo virginis principalis sanctitas, quia caret 

stupri affinitati." Tertullianus (de Exhort. Cast. c. 9). " Et de ipso 
conjugis melius aliquid, quam coiicessisti, monuisti." Augustinus 


(Confess, x. c. 30)." " It is better to many than to burn." 1 Cor. 
vii. 9. But how much better is it, says Tertullian, developing this 

text, neither to marry nor to burn " Possum dicere, quod per- 

mittitur bonum non est." (ad Uxorem, 1. i. c. 3) "De minoribus bonis 

est conjugiam, quod non meretur palmam, sed est in remedium 

Prima institutio habuit praeceptum, secunda indulgentiam. Didi- 
cimus enini ab Apostolo, humano generi propter vitandam fornica- 
tioneni indultum esse conjugium." Petrus Lomb. (1. iv. dist. 26. 
c. 2). " The Master of the Sentences says rightly, that in Paradise 
marriage was ordained as service, but after sin as medicine." Luther 
(T. i. p. 349). "Where marriage and virginity are compared, 
certainly chastity is a nobler gift than marriage." Id. (T. i. p. 319). 
" Those whom the weakness of nature does not compel to mar 
riage, but who are such that they can dispense with marriage, these 
do rightly to abstain from marriage." Id. (T. v. p. 538). Christian 
sophistry will reply to this, that only marriage which is not Christian, 
only that which is not consecrated by the spirit of Christianity, i. e., 
in which Nature is not veiled in pious images, is unholy. But if 
marriage, if Nature is first made holy by relation to Christ, it is 
not the holiness of marriage which is declared, but of Christianity; 
and marriage, Nature, in and by itself, is unholy. And what is the 
semblance of holiness with which Christianity invests marriage, in 
order to becloud the understanding, but a pious illusion ? Can the 
Christian fulfil his marriage duties without surrendering himself, 
willingly or not, to the passion of love? Yes indeed. The Christian 
has for his object the replenishing of the Christian Church, not the 
satisfaction of love. The end is holy, but the means in itself un 
holy. And the end sanctifies, exculpates the means. " Conjugalis 
concubitus generandi gratia non habet culpam." Thus the Christian, 
at least the true Christian, denies, or at least is bound to deny, 
Nature, while he satisfies it ; he does not wish for, he rather con 
temns the means' in itself, he seeks only the end in abstracto ; he 
does with religious, supranaturalistic horror, what he does, though 
against his will, with natural, sensual pleasure. The Christian does 
not candidly confess his sensuality, he denies Nature before his 
faith, and his faith before Nature, i. e., he publicly disavows what he 
privately does. Oh how much better, truer, purer-hearted in this 
respect were the heathens, who made no secret of their sensuality, 
than the Christians who, while gratifying the flesh, at the same 
time deny that they gratify it ! To this day the Christians adhere 
theoretically to their heavenly origin and destination ; to this day, 
out of supranaturalistic affectation, they deny their sex, and turn 
away with mock modesty from every sensuous, picture, every naked 
statue, as if they were angels; to this day they repress, even by 
legal force, every open-hearted, ingenuous self-confession even of the 


most uncorrupt sensuality, only stimulating by this public prohibi 
tion the secret enjoyment of sensuality. What then, speaking 
briefly and plainly, is the distinction between Christians and 
heathens in this matter 1 The heathens confirmed, the Christians 
contradicted their faith by their lives. The heathens do what they 
mean to do, the Christians what they do not mean : the former, 
where they sin, sin with their conscience, the latter against their 
conscience ; the former sin simply, the latter doubly ; the former 
from hypertrophy, the latter from atrophy of the flesh. The specific 
crime of the heathens is the ponderable, palpable crime of licen 
tiousness, that of the Christians is the imponderable, theological 
crime of hypocrisy, that hypocrisy of which Jesuitism is indeed 
the most striking, world-historical, but nevertheless only a particular 
manifestation. " Theology makes sinners," says Luther Luther, 
whose positive qualities, his heart and understanding, so far as they 
applied themselves to natural things, were not perverted by theo 
logy. And Montesquieu gives the best commentary on this saying 
of Luther's when he says: "La devotion trouve, pour faire de 
mauvaises actions, des raisons, qu'un simple honnete horn me ne 
saurait trouver." (Pensees Diverses.) 


The Christian heaven is Christian truth. That which is excluded 
from heaven is excluded from true Christianity. In heaven the 
Christian is free from that whicJi he wishes to be free from here 
free from the sexual impulse, free from matter, free from Nature in 
general. " In the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in 
marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven." Matt. xxii. 
30. " Meats for the belly, and the belly for meats; but God shall 
destroy (^arapy/yo-ei make useless) both it and them." 1 Cor. vi. 
13. " Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit 
the kingdom of heaven, neither doth corruption inherit incorrup- 
tion." Ib. xv. 50. " They shall hunger no more, neither thirst 
any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat." 
Rev. vii. 16. "And there shall be no night there; and they 
need no candle, neither light of the sun." Ib. xxii. 5. " Come- 
dere, bibere, vigilare, donnire, quiescere, laborare et caeteris neces- 
sitatibus naturae subjacere, vere magna miseria est et afnictio homini 
devoto, qui libenter esset absolutus et liber ab omni peccato. 
Utinam non essent istae necessitates, sed solum spirituales animae 
refectiones, quas heu ! satis . raro degustamus." Thomas a K. (de 
imit. 1. i. cc. 22, 25. See also on this subject S. Gregorii Nyss. de 
anima et resurr. Lipsiae, 1837. pp. 98, 144, 153). It is true that 
the Christian immortality, in distinction from the heathen, is not 


the immortality of the soul, but that of the flesh, that is, of the 
whole man. " Scientia immortalis visa est res illis (the heathen 
philosophers) atque ineorruptibilis. Nos autem, quibus divina 

revelatio illuxit novimus, non solum mentem, sed affectus per- 

purgatos, neque animam tantum, sed etiam corpus ad immortali- 
tatem assumptum iri suo tempore." Baco de "Verul. (de augm. 
Scien. 1. i.) On this account, Celsus reproached the Christians with 
a desideriutn corporis. But this immortal body is, as has been 
already remarked, an immaterial, i. e., a thoroughly fanciful, sub 
jective body a body which is the direct negation of the real, 
natural body. The ideal on which this faith hinges is not the 
recognition, or glorification of Nature, of matter as such, but rather 
the reality of the emotive imagination, the satisfaction of the un 
limited, supranaturalistic desire of happiness, to which the actual, 
objective body is a limitation. 

As to what the angels strictly are, whom heavenly souls will be 
like, the Bible is as far from giving us any definite information as 
on other weighty subjects; it only calls them Trvew/xara spirits, and 
declares them to be higher than men. The later Christians ex 
pressed themselves more definitely on this subject; more definitely, 
but variously. Some assigned bodies to the angels, others not; a 
difference which, however, is only apparent, since the angelic body 
is only a phantasmal one. But concerning the human body of the 
resurrection, they had not only different, but even opposite, con 
ceptions ; indeed, these contradictions lay in the nature of the case, 
necessarily resulted from the fundamental contradiction of the re 
ligious consciousness which, as we have shown, exhibits itself in 
the incompatible propositions, that the body which is raised is the 
same individual body which we had before the resurrection, and 
that nevertheless it is another. It is the same body even to 
the hair, " cum nee periturus sit capillus, ut ait Dominus : Capillus 
de capite vestro non peribit." (Augustinus und Petrus L. 1. iv. dist. 
44, c. 1.) Nevertheless it is the same in such a way, that every 
thing burdensome, everything contradictory to transcendental 
feeling, is removed. " Immo sicut dicit Augustinus : Detrahentur 
vitia et remaiiebit natura. Superexcrescentia autem capillorum et 
unguium est de superfluitate et vitio naturae. Si enini non peccasset 
Iwmo, crescerent ungues et capilli ejus usque ad determinatam quan- 
titatem, sicut in leonibus et avibus." (Addit. Henrici ab Yurimaria 
ibid. Edit. Basiliae, 1513.) What a specific, naive, ingenuous, 
confident, harmonious faith! The risen body, as the same and 
yet another, a new body, has hair and nails, otherwise it would be 
a maimed body, deprived of an essential ornament, and consequently 
the resurrection would not be a restitutio in integrum; moreover 
they are the same hair and nails as before, but yet so modified that 


they are in accordance with the body. Why do not the believing 
theologians of modern times enter into such specialities as occupied 
the older theologians ? Because their faith is itself only general, 
indefinite, i. e., a faith which they only suppose themselves to 
possess; because, from fear of their understanding, which has long 
been at issue with their faith, from fear of risking their feeble faith 
by bringing it to the light, that is, considering it in detail, they 
suppress the consequences, the necessary determinations of their 
faith, and conceal them from their understanding. 

1 17. 

What faith denies on earth it affirms in heaven; what it 
renounces here it recovers a hundred-fold there. In this world, faith 
occupies itself with nullifying the body ; in the other world, with 
establishing it. Here the main point is the separation of the soul 
from the body, there the main point is the reunion of the body 
with the soul. " I would live not only according to the soul, but 
according to the body also. I would have the corpus with me ; I 
would that the body should return to the soul and be united with 
it." Luther (T. vii. p. 90). In that which is sensuous, Christ is 
supersensuous ; but for that reason, in the supersensuous he is 
sensuous. Heavenly bliss is therefore by no means merely 
spiritual, it is equally corporeal, sensuous a state in which all 
wishes are fulfilled. "Whatever thy heart seeks joy and 
pleasure in, that shall be there in abundance. For it is said, God 
shall be all in all. And where God is, there must be all good 
things that can ever be desired." " Dost thou desire to see acutely, 
and to hear through walls, and to be so light that thou mayst be 
wherever thou wilt in a moment, whether here below on the earth, 
or above in the clouds, that shall all be, and what more thou canst 
conceive, which thou couldst have in body and soul, thou shalt have 
abundantly if thou hast Him." Luther (T. x. pp. 380, 381). Cer 
tainly eating, drinking, and marriage find no place in the Christian 
heaven, as they do in the Mahomedan; but only because with 
these enjoyments want is associated, and with want matter, i. e., 
passion, dependence, unhappiness. " Illic ipsa indigentia morietur. 
Tune vere dives eris, quando nullius indigens eris." Augustin. 
(Serm. ad pop. p. 77, c. 9). The pleasures of this earth are only 
medicines, says the same writer; true health exists only in im 
mortal life " vera sanitas, nisi quando vera immortalitas." The 
heavenly life, the heavenly body, is as free and unlimited as wishes, 
as omnipotent as imagination. " Futurae ergo resurrectionis corpus 
imperfectae felicitatis erit, si cibos sumere non potuerit, imper- 
fectae felicitatis, si cibus eguerit? Augustin. (Epist. 102, 

p 2 


6, edit, cit.) Nevertheless, existence in a body without fatigue, 
without heaviness, without disagreeables, without disease, without 
mortality, is associated with the highest corporeal wellbeing. Even 
the knowledge of God in heaven is free from any effort of thought 
or faith, is sensational, immediate kno wleclge intuit i on. The Chris 
tians are indeed not agreed whether God, as God, the essentia Dei, 
will be visible to bodily eyes. (See, for example, Augustin. Serm. 
ad pop. p. 277, and Bucldeus, Comp. Inst. Th. 1. ii. c. 3, 4.) 
But in this difference we again have only the contradiction 
between the abstract and the real God ; the former is certainly not 
an object of vision, but the latter is so. " Flesh and blood is the 

wall between me and Christ, which will be torn away There 

everything will be certain. For in that life the eyes will see, the 
mouth taste, and the nose smell it ; the treasure will shine into the 

soul and life Faith will cease, and I shall behold with my 

eyes." Luther (T. ix. p. 595). It is clear from this again, that 
God, as he is an object of religious sentiment, is nothing else than a 
product of the imagination. The heavenly beings are super- 
sensuous sensuous, immaterial material beings, i. <?., beings of the 
imagination; but they are like God, nay, identical with God, 
consequently God also is a supersensuous sensuous, an immaterial 
material being. 


TJie contradiction in the Sacraments is the contradiction of natur 
alism and supernaturalism. In the first place the natural qualities 
of water are pronounced essential to Baptism. " Si quis dixerit 
aquam veram et naturalem non esse de necessitate Baptismi atque 
ideo verba ilia domini nostri Jesu Christi : Nisi quis renatus fuerit 
ex aqua et Spiritu sancto, ad metamorpham aliquam detorserit, 
anathema sit. Concil. Trident. (Sessio vii. Can. ii. de Bapt.) 

De substantia hujus sacramenti sunt verbum et elementum 

Non ergo in olio liquor e potest consecrari baptismus nisi in aqua. 
Petrus Lomb. (1. iv. dist. 3, c. 1, c. 5). Ad certitudinem baptismi 

requiritur major quam unius guttae quantitas Necesse est ad 

valorem baptismi fieri contactum pliysicum inter aquam et corpus 

baptizati, ita ut non sufficiat, vestes tan turn ipsius aqua tingi 

Ad certitudinem baptismi requiritur, ut saltern talis pars corporis 
abluatur, ratione cujus homo solet dici vere ablutus, v. 6, collum, 
huineri, pectus et praesertim caput. Theolog. Schol. (P. Mezger. 
Aug. Yind. 1695. T. iv. pp. 230, 231). Aquam, eamque veram ac 

naturalem in baptismo adhibendam esse, exemplo Joannis 

non minus vero et Apostolorum Act. viii. 36, x. 47, patet. F. 
Buddeus (Com. Inst. Th. dog. 1. iv. c. i. 5)." Thus water 
is essential. But now conies the negation of the natural qualities 


of water. The significance of Baptism is not the natural power 
of water, but the supernatural, almighty power of the Word of 
God, who instituted the use of water as a sacrament, and now by 
means of this element imparts himself to man in a supernatural, 
miraculous manner, but who could just as well have chosen any 
other element in order to produce the same effect. So Luther, for 
example, says : " Understand the distinction, that Baptism is quite 
another thing than all other water, not on account of its natural 
quality, but because here something more noble is added. For God 
himself brings hither his glory, power, and might as St. Augus 
tine also hath taught : ' accedat verbum ad elementum et fit sacra- 
mentum.' " " Baptize them in the name of the Father, &c. Water 

without these words is mere water Who will call the baptism 

of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost mere water? Do we not see 
what sort of spice God puts into this water? When sugar is thrown 
into water it is no longer water, but a costly claret or other bever 
age. Why then do we here separate the word from the water and 
say, it is mere water ; as if the word of God, yea, God himself, were 

not with and in the water Therefore, the water of Baptism is 

such a water as takes away sin, death, and unhappiness, helps us in 
heaven and to everlasting life. It is become a precious sugared 
water, aromaticum, and restorative, since God has mingled himself 
therewith." Luther (T. xvi. p. 105). 

As with the water in Baptism, which sacrament is nothing without 
water, though this water is nevertheless in itself indifferent, so is it 
with the wine and bread in the Eucharist, even in Catholicism, 
where the substance of bread and wine is destroyed by the power 
of the Almighty. " Accideiitia eucharistica tamdiu continent 
Christum, quamdiu retinent illud temperamentum, cum quo con- 
naturaliter panis et vini substantia permaneret : ut econtra, quando 
tanta fit temperamenti dissolutio, illorumque corruptio, ut sub iis 
substantia panis et vini naturaliter remanere non posset, desinunt 
continere Christum." Theol. Schol. (Mezger. 1. c. p. 292.) That is 
to say : so long as the bread remains bread, so long does the bread 
remain flesh ; when the bread is gone, the flesh is gone. Therefore 
a due portion of bread, at least enough to render bread recognisable 
as such, must be present, for consecration to be possible. (Ib. p. 
284.) For the rest, Catholic transubstantiation, the conversio 
realis et physica totius panis in corpus Ckristi, is only a consistent 
continuation of the miracles of the Old and New Testaments. By 
the transformation of water into wine, of a staff into a serpent, of 
stones into brooks (Ps. cxiv.), by these biblical transubstantiations 
the Catholics explained and proved the turning of bread into flesh. 
Pie who does not stumble at those transformations, has no right, no 
reason to hesitate at accepting this. The Protestant doctrine of 


the Lord's Supper is not less in contradiction with reason than the 
Catholic. " The body of Christ cannot be partaken otherwise than 
in two ways, spiritually or bodily. Again, this bodily partaking 
cannot be visible or perceptible," i. e., is not bodily, " else no bread 
would remain. Again, it cannot be mere bread ; otherwise it would 
not be a bodily communion of the body of Christ, but of bread. 
Therefore the bread broken must also be truly and corporeally the 
body of Christ, although invisibly" (i. e., incorporeally). Luther 
(T. xix. p. 203). The difference is, that the Protestant gives no 
explanation concerning the mode in which bread can be flesh and 
wine blood. " Thereupon we stand, believe, and teach, that the body 
of Christ is truly and corporeally taken and eaten in the Lord's 
Supper. But how this takes place, or how he is in the bread, we 
know not, and are not bound to know." Id. (ut sup. p. 393.) 
" He who will be a Christian must not ask, as our fanatics and 
factionaries do, how it can be that bread is the body of Christ and 
wine the blood of Christ." Id. (T. xvi. p. 220.) " Cum retineamus 
doctrinam de praesentia corporis Christi, quid opus est quaerere de 
modo ?" Melancthon (Vita Mel. Camerarius. Ed. Strobel. Halae, 
1777. p. 446). Hence the Protestants as well as the Catholics took 
refuge in Omnipotence, the grand source of ideas contradictory to 
reason. (Concord. Summ. Beg. Art. 7. Aff. 3. Negat. 13. See 
also Luther, e. g. T. xix. p. 400.) 

An instructive example of theological incompreheiisibleness and 
supernaturalness is afforded by the distinction, in relation to the 
Eucharist (Concordienb. Summ. Beg. art. 7), between partaking 
with the mouth and partaking in a fleshly or natural manner. 
" We believe, teach, and confess that the body of Christ is taken in 
the bread and wine, not alone spiritually by faith, but also with the 
mouth, yet not in a Capernaitic, but a supernatural heavenly man 
ner, for the sake of sacramental union." " Probe namque discrimen 
inter manducationem oralem et naturalem tenendum est. Etsi 
enim oralem manducationem adseramus atque propugnemus, natu 
ralem tamen non admittimus Omnis equidem manducatio 

naturalis etiam oralis est. sed non vicissim oralis manducatio statim 

est naturalis Unicus itaque licet sit actus, unicumque 

organum, quo panem et corpus Christi, itemque vinum et sangui- 
nem Christi accipimus, modus (yes, truly, the mode) nihilominus 
niaximopere differt, cum panem et vinum modo naturali et sensibili, 
corpus et sanguinem Christi stmul equidem cum pane et vino, at modo 
supernatwrali et insensibili, qui adeo etiam a nemine mortalium 
(nor, assuredly, by any God) explicare potest, revera interim 
et ore corporis accijriamus" Jo. Er. Buddeus (1. c. Lib. v. c. i. 



Dogma and Morality, Faith and Love, contradict each other in 
Christianity. It is true that God, the object of faith, is in him 
self the idea of the species in a mystical garb the common 
Father of men and so far love to God is mystical love to man. 
But God is not only the universal being; he is also a peculiar, 
personal being, distinguished from Love. Where the being is dis 
tinguished from love arises arbitrariness. Love acts from necessity, 
personality from will. Personality proves itself as such only by 
arbitrariness; personality seeks dominion, is greedy of glory; it 
desires only to assert itself, to enforce its own authority. The 
highest worship of God as a personal being, is therefore the wor 
ship of God as an absolutely unlimited, arbitrary being. Per 
sonality, as such, is indifferent to all substantial determinations 
which lie in the nature of things; inherent necessity, the coercion 
of natural qualities, appears to it a constraint. Here we have the 
mystery of Christian love. The love of God, as the predicate of 
a personal being, has here the significance of grace, favour : God is 
a gracious master, as in Judaism he was a severe master. Grace 
is arbitrary love, love which does not act from an inward neces 
sity of the nature, but which is equally capable of not doing what 
it does, which could, if it would, condemn its object; thus it is a 
groundless, unessential, arbitrary, absolutely subjective, merely 
personal love. " He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and 

whom he will he hardeneth. (Rom. ix. 18.) The king 

does what he will. So is it with the will of God. He has perfect 
right and full power to do with us and all creatures as he will. 
And no wrong is done to us. If His will had a measure or 
rule, a law, ground, or cause, it would not be the divine will. 
For what He wills is right, because He wills it. Where there 

is faith and the Holy Spirit it is believed that God would 

be good and kind even if He consigned all men to damna 
tion. ' Is not Esau Jacob's brother? said the Lord. Yet I have 
loved Jacob and hated Esau.' " Luther (T. xix. pp. 83, 87, 90, 
91, 97). Where love is understood in this sense, jealous watch 
is kept that man attribute nothing to himself as merit, that the 
merit may lie with the divine personality alone ; there every idea 
of necessity is carefully dismissed, in order, through the feeling of 
obligation and gratitude, to be able to adore and glorify the per 
sonality exclusively. The Jews deified the pride of ancestry; the 
Christians, on the other hand, interpreted and transformed the 
Jewish aristocratic principle of hereditary nobility into the demo 
cratic principle of nobility of merit. The Jew makes salvation 


depend on birth, the Catholic on the merit of works, the Protestant 
on the merit of faith. But the idea of obligation and merito- 
riousness allies itself only with a deed, a work, which cannot be 
demanded of me, or which does not necessarily proceed from my 
nature. The works of the poet, of the philosopher, can be regarded 
in the light of merit only as considered externally. They are 
works of genius inevitable products : the poet must bring forth 
poetry, the philosopher must philosophize. They have the highest 
satisfaction in the activity of creation, apart from any collateral 
or ulterior purpose. And it is just so with a truly noble moral 
action. To the man of noble feeling, the noble action is natural : 
he does not hesitate whether he should do it or not, he does not 
place it in the scales of choice; he must do it. Only he who so 
acts is a man to be confided in. Meritoriousiiess always involves 
the notion that a thing is done, so to speak, out of luxury, not out 
of necessity. The Christians indeed celebrated the highest act in 
their religion, the act of God becoming man, as a work of love. 
But Christian love in so far as it reposes on faith, on the idea of God 
as a master, a Dominus, has the significance of an act of grace, of 
a love in itself superfluous. A gracious master is one who foregoes 
his rights, a master who does out of graciousness what, as a master, 
he is not bound to do what goes beyond the strict idea of a 
master. To God, as a master, it is not even a duty to do good to 
man ; he has even the right for he is a master bound by no law 
to annihilate man if he will. In fact, mercy is optional, non-neces 
sary love, love in contradiction with the essence of love, love 
Avhich is not an inevitable manifestation of the nature, love which 
the master, the subject, the person, (personality is only an abstract, 
modern expression for sovereignty,) distinguishes from himself as a 
predicate, which he can either have or not have, without ceasing 
to be himself. This internal contradiction necessarily manifested 
itself in the life, in the practice of Christianity ; it gave rise to the 
practical separation of the subject from the predicate, of faith 
from love. As the love of God to man was only an act of grace, 
so also the love of man to man was only an act of favour or grace 
on the part of faith. Christian love is the graciousness of faith, 
as the love of God is the graciousness of personality or supremacy. 
(On the divine arbitrariness, see also J. A. Ernesti's treatise 
previously cited : " Vindicise arbitrii divini.") 

Faith has within it a malignant principle. Christian faith, and 
nothing else, is the ultimate ground of Christian persecution and 
destruction of heretics. Faith recognises man only on condition 
that he recognises God, i.e., faith itself. Faith is the honour which 
man renders to God. And this honour is due unconditionally. To 
faith the basis of all duties is faith in God : faith is the absolute 


duty duties to men are only derivative, subordinate. The unbe 
liever is thus an outlaw * a man worthy of extermination. That 
which denies God must be itself denied. The highest crime is the 
crime laesae majestatis Dei. To faith God is a personal being the 
supremely personal, inviolable, privileged being. The acme of per 
sonality is honour; hence an injury towards the highest personality 
is necessarily the highest crime. The Jwnour of God cannot be dis 
avowed as an accidental, rude, anthropomorphic conception. For 
is not the personality, even the existence of God, a sensuous, 
anthropomorphic conception 1 Let those who renounce the honour 
be consistent enough to renounce the personality. From the idea 
of personality results the idea of honour, and from this again the 
idea of religious offences. " Quicunque Magistratibus male precatus 
fuerit, pro eorum arbitrio poenas luito ; quicunque vero idem scelus 

erga Deum adrniserit lapidibus blaspkemiae causa obruitur." 

(Lev. xxiv. 15, 16. See also Deut. xii. whence the Catholics 
deduce the right to kill heretics. Boehmer, 1. c. 1. v. T. vii. 
44.) " Eos autem merito torqueri, qui Deum nesciunt, ut irn- 
pios, ut injustos, nisi profanus nemo deliberat: quum parentem 
omnium et dominum omnium non minus sceleris sit ignware, quam 
laedere" Minucii Fel. Oct. c. 35. " Ubi erunt legis praecepta 
divinae, quae dicunt : honora patrem et matrem, si vocabulum 
patris, quod in homine honorari praecipitur, in Deo impune vio- 
latur?" Cypriani Epist. 73 (ed. Gersdorf.) "Cur enim, cum datum 
sit divinitus homini liberum arbitrium, adulteria legibus puniantur 
et sacrilegia permittantur? Anfidem non servare levius est animam 
Deo, quam feminam viro?" Augustinus (de correct. Donatist. lib. 
ad Bonifacium, c. 5). " Si hi qui nummos adulterant morte mulc- 
tantur, quid de illis statuendum censemus, qui /idem pervertere 
conantur?" Paulus Cortesius (in Sententias (Petri L.) iii. 1. dist. 
vii.) " Si enim illustrem ac praepotentem virum nequaquam ex- 
honorari a quoquam licet, et si quisquam exhonoraverit, decretis 
legalibus reus sistitur et injuriarum auctor jure damnatur: quanta 
utique majoris piaculi crimen est, injuriosum quempiam Deo esse? 
Semper enim per dignitatem injuriam perferentis crescit culpa 
facientis, quia necesse est, quant o major est persona ejus qui contu- 
meliam patitur, tanto major sit noxa ejus, qui facit." Thus speaks 
Salvianus (de gubernat. Dei, 1. vi. p. 218, edit, cit.) Salvianus, 
who is called Magistrum Episcoporum, sui saeculi Jeremiam, Scrip- 
tor em Christianissimum, Orbis ckristiani magistrum. But heresy, 
unbelief in general heresy is only a definite, limited unbelief is 
blasphemy, and thus is the highest, the most flagitious crime. Thus 

* " Haereticus usu omnium jurium destitutus est, ut deportatus." J. H, Boehmer 
(1. c. 1. v. Tit. vii. 223. See also Tit. vi.) 



to cite only one among innumerable examples, J. Oecolampadius 
writes to Servetus : " Dum non summam patientiam prae me fero, 
dolens Jesum Christum nliuni Dei sic dehonestari, parum christiane 
tibi agere videor. In aliis mansuetus ero : in blasphemiis quae in 
Christum, non item." (Historia Mich. Serveti. H. ab Allwoerden 
Helmstadii, 1737. p. 13.) For what is blasphemy? Every nega 
tion of an idea, of a definition, in which the honour of God, the 
honour of faith is concerned. Servetus fell as a sacrifice to Christian 
faith. Calvin said to Servetus, two hours before his death : " Ego 
vero ingenue praefatus, me nunquam privatas injurias fuisse per- 
secutum," and parted from him with a sense of being thoroughly 
sustained by the Bible : " ab haeretico homine, qui avroKa-u^pirog 
peccabat, secundum Pauli praeceptum discessi. (Ibid. p. 120.) Thus 
it was by no means a personal hatred, though this may have been 
conjoined, it was a religious hatred which brought Servetus to 
the stake the hatred which springs from the nature of unchecked 
faith. Even Melancthon is known to have approved the execution 
of Servetus. The Swiss theologians, whose opinion was asked by 
the Genevans, very subtilely abstained, in their answer, from men 
tioning the punishment of death,* but agreed with the Genevans in 
this "horrendos Serveti erroresdetestandosesse, severiusque idcirco 
in Servetum animadverteiidum." Thus there is no difference as to 
the principle, only as to the mode of punishment. Even Calvin 
himself was so Christian as to desire to alleviate the horrible mode 
of death to which the Senate of Geneva condemned Servetus. (See 
on this subject, e.g. M. Adami Yita Calvini, p. 90. Yita Bezae, p. 
207. Yitae Theol. exter. Francof. 1618.) We have therefore to 
consider this execution as an act of general significance as a work 
of faith, and that not of Roman Catholic, but of reformed, biblical, 
evangelical faith. That heretics must not be compelled to a pro 
fession of the faith by force, was certainly maintained by most of 
the lights of the church, but there nevertheless lived in them the 
most malignant hatred of heretics. Thus, for example, St. Bernard 
says (Super Cantica, 66) in relation to heretics: " Fides suadenda 
est, non imponenda," but he immediately adds : " quamquam melius 
procul dubio gladio coercerentur, illius videlicet, qui non sine causa 
gladium portat,quamiiisuum errorem multostrajicerepermittantur." 
If the faith of the present day no longer produces such flagrant 
deeds of horror, this is due only to the fact that the faith of this 

* Very many Christians rejected the punishment of death, but other criminal 
punishments of heretics, such as banishment, confiscation punishments which 
deprive of life indirectly they did not find in contradiction with their Christian 
faith. See on this subject J. H. Boehmer, Jus. Eccl. Protest. 1. v. Tit. vii. e. g. 
i. 155, 157, 162, 163. 


age is not an uncompromising, living faith, but a sceptical, eclectic, 
unbelieving faith, curtailed and maimed by the power of art and 
science. Where heretics are no longer burned either in the fires of 
this world or of the other, there faith itself has no longer any fire, 
any vitality. The faith which allows variety of belief renounces its 
divine origin and rank, degrades itself to a subjective opinion. It 
is not to Christian faith, not to Christian love (i. e., love limited by 
faith} ; no ! it is to doubt of Christian faith, to the victory of religious 
scepticism, to free-thinkers, to heretics, that we owe tolerance, freedom 
of opinion. It was the heretics, persecuted by the Christian church, 
who alone fought for freedom of conscience. Christian freedom 
is freedom in non-essentials only: on the fundamental articles of faith 
freedom is not allowed. When, however, Christian faith faith 
considered in distinction from love, for faith is not one with love, 
" potestis habere fidem sine caritate" (Augustinus Serm. ad pop. 90) 
is pronounced to be the principle, the ultimate ground of the 
violent deeds of Christians towards heretics (that is, such deeds as 
arose from real believing zeal) ; it is obviously not meant that faith 
could have these consequences immediately and originally, but only 
in its historical development. Still, even to the earliest Christians 
the heretic was an antichrist, and necessarily so "adversus Christum 
sunt haeretici" (Cyprianus, Epist. 76, 14, edit, cit.) accursed 

"apostoli inepistolis haereticos exsecrati sunt" (Cyprianus, ib. 

6) a lost being, doomed by God to hell and everlasting death. 
" Thou nearest that the tares are already condemned and sentenced 
to the fire. Why then wilt thou lay many sufferings on a heretic? 
Dost thou not hear that he is already judged to a punishmen^ 
heavier than he can bear? Who art thou, that thou wilt interfere 
and punish him who has already fallen under the punishment of a 
more powerful master? What would I do against a thief already 

sentenced to the gallows? God has already commanded his 

angels, who in his own time will be the executioners of heretics." 
Luther (T. xvi. p. 132). When therefore the State, the world, 
became Christian, and also, for that reason, Christianity became 
worldly, the Christian religion a State religion ; then it was a neces 
sary consequence that the condemnation of heretics, which was at 
first only religious or dogmatic, became a political, practical con 
demnation, and the eternal punishment of hell was anticipated by 
temporal punishment. If therefore the definition and treatment of 
heresy as a punishable crime, is in contradiction with the Christian 
faith, it follows that a Christian king, a Christian State, is in con 
tradiction with it ; for a Christian State is that which executes the 
Divine judgments of faith with the sword, which makes earth a 

heaven to believers, a hell to unbelievers. " Docuimus pertinere 

ad reyes reliyiosos, non solum adulteria vel homicidia vel hujusmodi 


alia flagitia seu facinora, verum etiam sacrilegia severitate congrua 
cohibere" Augustinus (Epist. ad Dulcitium). "Kings ought thus to 
serve the Lord Christ, by helping with laws that his honour be fur 
thered. Now when the temporal magistracy finds scandalous errors, 
whereby the honour of the Lord Christ is blasphemed and men's sal 
vation hindered, and a schism arises among the people where such 

false teachers will not be admonished and cease from preaching : there 
ought the temporal magistracy confidently to arm itself and know 
that nothing else befits its office, but to apply the sword and all force, 
that doctrine maybe pure and God's service genuine andunperverted, 
and also that peace and unity may be preserved." Luther (T. xv. pp. 
110, 111). Let it be further remarked here, that Augustine justi 
fies the application of coercive measures for the awaking of Chris 
tian faith, by urging that the apostle Paul was converted to Chris 
tianity by a deed of force a miracle. (De Correct. Donat. c. 6.) 
The intrinsic connexion between temporal and eternal, i. <?., political 
and spiritual punishment is clear from this, that the same reasons 
which have been urged against the temporal punishment of heresy, 
are equally valid against the punishment of hell. If heresy or un 
belief cannot be punished here because it is a mere mistake, neither 
can it be punished by God in hell. If coercion is in contradiction 
with the nature of faith, so is hell ; for the fear of the terrible conse 
quence of unbelief, the torments of hell, urge to belief against 
knowledge and will. Boehmer, in his Jus Eccl., argues that heresy 
and unbelief should be struck out of the category of crimes, that 
unbelief is only a vitium theologicum, a peccatum in Deum. But God, 
in the view of faith, is not only a religious, but a political, 
juridical being, the King of kings, the true head of the State. 

" There is no power but of God it is the minister of God." 

Horn. xiii. 1,4. If therefore the juridical idea of majesty, of kingly 
dignity and honour, applies to God, sin against God, unbelief, must 
by consequence come under the definition of crime. And as with 
God, so with faith. Where faith is still a truth, and a public truth, 
there no doubt is entertained that it can be demanded of every one, 
that every one is bound to believe. Be it further observed, that 
the Christian Church has gone so far in its hatred against heretics, that 
according to the canon law even the suspicion of heresy is a crime, 
"ita ut de jure canonico revera crimen suspecti detur, cujus existen- 
tiam frustra in jure civili quaerimus." Boehmer (1. c. v. Tit. vii. 

The command to love enemies extends only to personal enemies, 
not to the enemies of God, the enemies of faith. " Does not the Lord 
Christ command that we should love even our enemies ? How 
then does David here boast that he hates the assembly of the 

wicked, and sits not with the ungodly? For the sake of the 

person I should love them; but for the sake of the doctrine I should 


hate them. And thus I must hate them or hate God, who com 
mands and wills that we should cleave to his word alone What 

I cannot love with God, I must hate; if they only preach some 
thing which is against God, all love and friendship is destroyed; . 
thereupon I hate thee, and do thee no good. For faith must be 
uppermost, and where the word of God is attacked, hate takes the 

place of love And so David means to say: I hate them, not 

because they have done injury and evil to me and led a bad and 
wicked life, but because they despise, revile, blaspheme, falsify, and 
persecute the word of God." " Faith and love are two things. 
Faith endures nothing, love endures all things. Faith curses, love 
blesses: faith seeks vengeance and punishment, love seeks for 
bearance and forgiveness." " Rather than God's word should 
fall and heresy stand, faith would wish all creatures to be destroyed ; 
for through heresy men lose God himself." Luther (T. vi. p. 94. 
T. v. pp. 624, 630). See also, on this subject, my treatise in the 
Deutsches Jahrb. and Augustini Enarrat. in Psalm cxxxviii. 
(cxxxix.) As Luther distinguishes the person from the enemy of 
God, so Augustine here distinguishes the man from the enemy of 
God, from the unbeliever, and says : we should hate the ungodli 
ness in the man, but love the humanity in him. But what, then, 
in the eyes of faith, is the man in distinction from faith, man 
without faith, i. e., without God ? Nothing ; for the sum of all 
realities, of all that is worthy of love, of all that is good and essential, 
is faith, as that which alone apprehends and possesses God. It is 
true that man as man is the image of God, but only of the natural 
God, of God as the Creator of Nature. But the Creator is only 
God as he manifests himself outwardly; the true God, God as he 
is in himself, the inward essence of God, is the triune God, is espe 
cially Christ. (See Luther T. xiv. pp. 2, 3, and T. xvi. p. 581.) 
And the image of this true, essential, Christian God, is only the 
believer, the Christian. Moreover, man is not to be loved for his 
own sake, but for God's. " Diligendus est propter Deum, Deus vero 
propter se ipsum." (Augustinus de doctrina chr. 1. i. cc. 22, 27.) 
How, then, should the unbelieving man, who has no resemblance 
to the true God, be an object of love 1 ? 


Faith separates man from man, puts in the place of the natural 
unity founded in Nature and Love, a supernatural unity 
the unity of Faith. " Inter Christianum et gentilem non fides 

tantum debet, sed etiam vita distinguere Nolite, ait Apo- 

stolus, jugum ducere cum infidelibus Sit ergo inter nos et illos 

maxima separatio." Hieronymus (Epist. Cselantise matronse) 

" Prope nihil gravius quam copulari alienigeniae Nam cum 


ipsum conjugium velamine sacerdotal! et benedictione sanctificari 
oporteat : quomodo potest conjugium did, ubi non estfidei concordia ? 
...Saepe plerique capti amore feminarum fidem suam prodiderunt."- 
Ambrosius. (Ep. 70, Lib. ix.) " JSTon enini licet christiano cum 
gentili vel judaeo mire coujugiuni." Petrus L. (1. iv. dist. 39, c. 1). 
And this separation is by no means unbiblical. On the contrary, 
we find that, in support of it, the Fathers appeal directly to the 
Bible. The well-known passage of the apostle Paul concerning 
marriage between heathens and Christians relates only to marriages 
which had taken place before conversion, not to those which were 
yet to be contracted. Let the reader refer to what Peter Lom 
bard says in the book already cited. " The first Christians did not 
acknowledge, did not once listen to, all those relatives who sought 
to turn them away from the hope of the heavenly reward. This 
they did through the power of the Gospel, for the sake of which all 
love of kindred was to be despised ; inasmuch as the brother 
hood of Christ far surpassed natural brotherhood. To us the Father 
land and a common name is not so dear, but that we have a horror 
even of our parents, if they seek to advise something against the 
Lord." G. Arnold (Wahre Abbild. der ersteii Christen. B. iv. c. 2). 
" Qui amat patrern et matrem plus quam me, non est me dignus 

Matth. x in hoc vos non agnosco parentes, sed hostes 

Alioquin quid mihi et vobis 1 Quid a vobis habeo nisi peccatum et 
miseriam ? " Bernardus (Epist. iii. Ex persona Heliae monachi 
ad parentes suos). " Etsi impium est, contemnere matrem, con- 
temnere tamen propter Christum piissimum est." Bernhardus (Ep. 
104. See also Epist. 351, ad Uugonem novitium). " Audi sententiam 

Isidori: multi canonicorum, monachorum temporal! salute 

suorum parentum perdunt animas suas Servi Dei qui paren- 

tum suoruin utilitatem procurant a Dei amore se separant." De 
Modo bene vivendi (S. vii.) " Omnem hominem > /w/efe/tt judica tuum 
esse fratrem." (Ibid. Sermo 13.) Ambrosius dicit, Icnge plus nos 
debere diligere filios quos de fonte levamus, quam quos carnaliter 
genuirnus" (Petrus L. 1. iv. dist. 6, c. 5, addit. Henr. ab Vurim.) 
" Infantes nascuntur cum peccato, nee fiunt haeredes vitae aeternae 

sine remissione peccati Cum igitur dubium non sit, in infan- 

tibus esse peccatum, debet aliquod esse discrimen infantium Ethni- 
corum, qui manent rei, et infavitium in Ecclesia, qui recipiuntur a 
Deo per minis terium." Melancthon (Loci de bapt. inf. Argum. II. 
Compare with this the passage above cited from Buddeus, as a proof 
of the narrowness of the true believer s love). " Ut Episcopi vel 
Clerici in eos, qui CatJwlici Christiani non sunt, etiam si consanguinei 
fuerint, nee per donationes rerum suarum aliquid conferant." 
Concil. Carthag. III. can. 1 3. (Summa Carranza.) " Cum haereticis 
nee orandum, necpsalleiidam^ Concil. Carthag. IV. can. 72 (ibid.) 


Faith has the significance of religion, love only that of 'morality. 
This has been declared very decidedly by Protestantism. The 
doctrine that love does not justify in the sight of God. but only 
faith, expresses nothing further than that love has no religious power 
and significance. (Apol. Augsb. Confess, art. 3. Of Love and 
the Fulfilment of the Law.) It is certainly here said: "What the 
scholastic writers teach concerning the love of God is a dream, and 
it is impossible to know and love God before we know and lay hold 
on mercy through faith. For then first does God become objectum 
amabile, a loveable, blissful object of contemplation." Thus here 
mercy, love is made the proper object of faith. And it is true that 
faith is immediately distinguished from love only in this, that faith 
places out of itself what love places in itself. " We believe that 
our justification, salvation, and consolation, lie out of ourselves." 
Luther (T. xvi. p. 497. See also T. ix. p. 587). It is true that faith 
in the Protestant sense, is faith in the forgiveness of sins, faith in 
mercy, faith in Christ, as the God who suffered and died for men, 
so that man, in order to attain everlasting salvation, has nothing 
further to do on his side than believingly to accept this sacrifice of 
God for him. But it is not as love only that God is an object of faith. 
On the contrary, the characteristic object of faith as faith, is God as 
a subject, a person. And is a God who accords no merit to man, 
who claims all exclusively for himself, who watches jealously over his 
honour is a self-interested, egoistic God like this a God of love ] 

The morality which proceeds from faith has for its principle and 
criterion only the contradiction of Nature, of man. As the highest 
object of faith is that which most contradicts reason, the Eucharist, 
so necessarily the highest virtue of the morality which is true and 
obedient to faith, is that which most contradicts Nature. Dog 
matic miracles have therefore moral miracles as their consequence. 
Antinatural morality is the twin sister of supernatural faith. As 
faith vanquishes Nature outside of man, so the morality of faith 
vanquishes Nature within man. This practical supernaturalism, the 
summit of which is " virginity, the sister of the angels, the queen of 
virtues, the mother of all good" (see A. v. Buchers : Geistliches 
Suchverloren. Sammtl. W. B. vi. 151) has been especially deve 
loped by Catholicism; for Protestantism has held fast only the 
principle of Christianity, and has arbitrarily eliminated its logical 
consequences, it has embraced only Christian faith and not Christian 
morality. In faith, Protestantism has brought man back to the 
stand-point of primitive Christianity ; but in life, in practice, in mo 
rality, it has restored him to the pre-Christian, the Old Testament, 
the heathen, adamitic, natural stand-point. God instituted mar 
riage in paradise ; therefore even in the present day, even to Chris 
tians, the command : Multiply ! is valid. Christ advises those only 


not to many who " can receive" this higher rule. Chastity is a 
supernatural gift; it cannot therefore be expected of every one. 
But is not faith also a supernatural gift, a special gift of God, a 
miracle, as Luther says innumerable times, and is it not neverthe 
less commanded to us all? Are not all men included in the 
command to mortify, blind and contemn the natural reason 1 ? Is 
not the tendency to believe and accept nothing which contradicts 
reason, as natural, as strong, as necessary in us, as the sexual 
impulse ? If we ought to pray to God for faith because by ourselves 
we are too weak to believe, why should we not on the same ground 
entreat God for chastity ? Will he deny us this gift if we earnestly 
implore him for it 1 Never ! Thus we may regard chastity as a 
universal command equally with faith, for what we cannot do of 
ourselves, we can do through God. What speaks against chastity 
speaks against faith also, and what speaks for faith, speaks for 
chastity. One stands and falls with the other ; with a supernatural 
faith is necessarily associated a supernatural morality. Protestant 
ism tore this bond asunder : in faith it affirmed Christianity ; in 
life, in practice, it denied Christianity, acknowledged the autonomy 
of natural reason, of man, restored man to his original rights. 
Protestantism rejected celibacy, chastity, not because it contradicted 
the Bible, but because it contradicts man and Nature. " He who 
will be single renounces the name of man, and proves or makes 

himself an angel or spirit It is pitiable folly, to wonder that 

a man takes a wife, or for any. one to be ashamed of doing so, since 
no one wonders that men are accustomed to eat and drink." 
Luther (T. xix. pp. 368, 369). Does this unbelief as to the possi 
bility and reality of chastity accord with the Bible, where celibacy 
is eulogized as a laudable and consequently a possible, attainable 
state ? No ! It is in direct contradiction with the Bible. Pro 
testantism, in consequence of its practical spirit, and therefore by its 
own inherent force, repudiated Christian supranaturalism in the 
sphere of morality. Christianity exists for it only in faith not 
in law, not in morality, not in the State. It is true that love (the 
compendium of morality) belongs essentially to the Christian, so that 
where there is no love, where faith does not attest itself by love, 
there is no faith, no Christianity. Nevertheless love is only the 
outward manifestation of faith, only a consequence, and only human. 
' Faith alone deals with God," "faith makes us gods;" love makes 
us merely men, and as faith alone is for God, so God is for faith 
alone, i. e., faith alone is the divine, the Christian in man. To faith 
belongs eternal life, to love only this temporal life. " Long before 
Christ came God gave this temporal, earthly life to the whole world, 
and said, that man should love Him and his neighbour. After that 
he gave the world to his Son Christ, that we through and by him 


should have eternal life Moses and the law belong to this life, 

but for the other life we must have the Lord." Luther (T. xvi. p. 
459). Thus although love belongs to the Christian, yet is the 
Christian a Christian only through this, that he believes in Christ. 
It is true that to serve one's neighbour, in whatever way, rank or 
calling, is to serve God. But the God whom I serve in fulfilling a 
worldly or natural office, is only the universal, mundane, natural, 
pre-christian God. Government, the State, marriage, existed prior 
to Christianity, was an institution, an ordinance of God, in which 
he did not as yet reveal himself as the true God, as Christ. Christ 
has nothing to do with all these worldly things ; they are external, 
indifferent to him. But for this very reason, every worldly calling 
and rank is compatible with Christianity; for the true, Christian 
service of God is faith alone, and this can be exercised everywhere. 
Protestantism binds men only in faith, all the rest it leaves free ; but 
only because all the rest is external to faith. 

It is true that we are bound by the commandments of Christian 
morality, as, for example, " Avenge not yourselves," &c., but they 
have validity for us only as private, not as public persons. The 
world is governed according to its own laws. Catholicism " mingled 
together the worldly and spiritual kingdoms," i. e., it sought to 
govern the world by Christianity. But " Christ did not come on 
earth to interfere in the government of the Emperor Augustus 
and teach him how to reign." Luther (T. xvi. p. 49). Where 
worldly government begins, Christianity ends; there worldly justice, 
the sword, war, litigation, prevail. As a Christian I let my cloak 
be stolen from me without resistance, but as a citizen I seek to 
recover it by law. " Evangelium non abolet jus naturae." Melanc- 
thon (de vindicta Loci. See also on this subject M. Chemnitii Loci 
theol. de vindicta). In fact, Protestantism is the practical negation 
of Christianity, the practical assertion of the natural man. It is 
true that Protestantism also commands the mortifying of the flesh, 
the negation of the natural man; but apart from the fact that this 
negation has for Protestantism no religious significance and efficacy, 
does not justify, i. e., make acceptable to God, procure salvation; 
the negation of the flesh in Protestantism, is not distinguished from 
that limitation of the flesh which natural reason and morality 
enjoin on man. The necessary practical consequences of the Chris 
tian faith, Protestantism has relegated to the other world, to heaven 
in other words, has denied them. In heaven first ceases the 
worldly stand-point of Protestantism; there we no longer marry, 
there first we are new creatures ; but here everything remains as of 
old " until that life ; there the external life will be changed, for 
Christ did not come to change the creature." Luther (T. xv. 
p. 62). Here we are half heathens, half Christians; half citizens 


of the earth, half citizens of heaven. Of this division, this disunity, 
this chasm, Catholicism knows nothing. What it denies in heaven, 
i. e., in faith, it denies also, as far as possible, on earth, i. e., in 
morality. " Grandis igitur virtutis est et sollicitate diligentiae, 
superare quod nata sis: in came non carnaliter vivere, tecum pug- 
nare quotidie." Hieronymus (Ep. Furiae Horn, nobilique viduae). 
" Quant o igitur natura amplius vincitur et premitur, tanto major 
gratia infunditur." Thomas a K. (imit. 1. iii. c. 54). " Esto robustus 
tam in agendo, quam in patiendo naturae contraria" (ibid. c. 49). 
" Beatus ille homo, qui propter te, Domine, omnibus creaturis licen- 
tiam abeundi tribuit, qui naturae vim facit et concupiscent! as carnis 
fervore spiritus crucifigit " (c. 48). " Adhuc proh dolor ! vivit in me 
verus homo, non est totus crucifixus " (ibid. c. 34, 1. iii. c. 19, 1. ii. 
c. 12). And these dicta by no means emanate simply from the 
pious individuality of the author of the work de Imitations Christi ; 
they express the genuine morality of Catholicism, that morality 
which the saints attested by their lives, and which was sanctioned 
even by the Head of the Church, otherwise so worldly. Thus it 
is said, for example, in the Canonizatio S. Bernhardi Abbatis per 

Alexaudrum papam III. anno Ch. 1164. Litt. apost primo ad. 

Praelatos Eccles. Gallic. : "In afflictione vero corporis sui usque adeo 
sibi mundum, seque mundo reddidit crucifixum, ut confidamus mar- 
tyrum quoque eum merita obtiiiere sanctorum etc." It was owing 
to this purely negative moral principle, that there could be enunciated 
within Catholicism itself the gross opinion that mere martyrdom, 
without the motive of love to God, obtains heavenly blessedness. 

It is true that Catholicism also in practice denied the supra- 
naturalistic morality of Christianity ; but its negation has an essen 
tially different significance from that of Protestantism; it is a 
negation de facto but not de jure. The Catholic denied in life 
what he ought to have affirmed in life, as, for example, the vow of 
chastity, what he desired to affirm, at least if he was a religious 
Catholic, but which in the nature of things he could not affirm. 
Thus he gave validity to the law of Nature, he gratified the flesh, 
in a word, he was a man, in contradiction with his essential cha 
racter, his religious principle and conscience. Adhuc proh dolor I 
vivit in me verus Iiomo. Catholicism has proved to the world that 
the supernatural principle of faith in Christianity, applied to life, 
made a principle of morals, has immoral, radically corrupting con 
sequences. This experience Protestantism made use of, or rather 
this experience called forth Protestantism. It made the illegiti 
mate, practical negation of Christianity illegitimate in the sense 
of true Catholicism, though not in that of the degenerate church 
the law, the norm of life. You cannot in life, at least in this life, 
be Christians, peculiar, superhuman beings, therefore ye ought not 


to be such. And it legitimized this negation of Christianity before 
its still Christian conscience, by Christianity itself, pronounced it to 
be Christian ; no wonder, therefore, that now at last modern Chris 
tianity not only practically but theoretically represents the total 
negation of Christianity as Christianity. When, however, Pro 
testantism is designated as the contradiction, Catholicism as the 
unity of faith and practice, it is obvious that in both cases we refer 
only to the essence, to the principle. 

Faith sacrifices man to God. Human sacrifice belongs to the 
very idea of religion. Bloody human sacrifices only dramatize this 
idea. " By faith Abraham offered up Isaac." Heb. xi. 17. " Quanto 

major Abraham, qui unicum filium voluntate jugulavit Jepte 

obtulit virginem filiam et idcirco in enumeratione sanctorum ab 
Apostolo ponitur." Hieronymus (Epist. Juliano). On the human 
sacrifices in the Jewish religion we refer the reader to the works of 
Daumer and Ghillany. In the Christian religion also it is only 
blood, the sacrifice of the Son of Man, which allays God's anger and 
reconciles him to man. Therefore a pure, guiltless man must fall a 
sacrifice. Such blood alone is precious, such alone has reconciling 
power. And this blood, shed on the cross for the allaying of the 
divine anger, Christians partake in the Lord's Supper, for the 
strengthening and sealing of their faith. But why is the blood 
taken under the form of wine, the flesh under the form of bread? 
That it may not appear as if Christians ate real human flesh 
and drank human blood, that the natural man may not shrink 
from the mysteries of the Christian faith. " Etenim ne humana 
infirmitas esum carnis et potum sanguinis in sumptione liorreret, 
Christus velari et palliari ilia duo voluit speciebws panis et vini.' : 
Bernard (edit. cit. pp. 189 191). " Sub alia autem specie tribus de 
causis carnem et sanguinem tradit Christus et deinceps sumeiidum 
instituit. TJt fides scil. haberet meritum, quae est de his quae 
non videntur, quod fides non habet meritum, ubi humana ratio 
praebet experimentum. Et ideo etiam ne abhorreret animus quod 
ceriieret oculus ; quod non habemus in usu carnem crudam comedere 

et sanguinem bibere Et etiam ideo ne ab incredulis reliyioni 

ckristianae insultaretur. Unde Augustinus: Nihil rationabilius, 
quam ut sanguinis similitudinem sumamus, ut et ita veritas non 
desit et ridiculum nullum fiat a paganis, quod cruorem occisi 
hominis bibamus." Petrus Lomb. (Sent. lib. iv. dist. ii. c. 4.) 

But as the bloody human sacrifice, while it expresses the utmost 
abnegation of man, is at the same time the highest assertion of his 
value ; for only because human life is regarded as the highest, 
because the sacrifice of it is the most painful, costs the greatest 
conquest over feeling, is it offered to God ; so the contradiction of 
the Eucharist with human nature is only apparent. Apart from 


the fact that flesh and blood are, as St. Bernard says, clothed with 
bread and wine, i. e., that in truth it is not flesh but bread, not 
blood but wine, which is partaken, the mystery of the Eucharist 
resolves itself into the mystery of eating and drinking. " All 

ancient Christian doctors teach that the body of Christ is not 

taken spiritually alone by faith, which happens also out of the 
Sacraments, but also corporeally; not alone by believers, by the 
pious, but also by unworthy, unbelieving, false and wicked Chris 
tians." " There are thus two ways of eating Christ's flesh, one 

spiritual such spiritual eating however is nothing else than 

faith The other way of eating the body of Christ is to eat it 

corporeally or sacramentally." (Concordienb. Erkl. art. 7.) " The 
mouth eats the body of Christ bodily." Luther (against the 
"fanatics." T. xix. p. 417). What then forms the specific differ 
ence of the Eucharist? Eating and drinking. Apart from the 
Sacrament, God is partaken of spiritually ; in the Sacrament he is 
partaken of materially, i. e., he is eaten and drunken, assimilated 
by the body. But how couldst thou receive God into thy body, if 
it were in thy esteem an organ unworthy of God? Dost thou pour 
wine into a water-cask'? Dost thou not declare thy hands and lips 
holy, when by means of them thou comest in contact with the Holy 
One? Thus if God is eaten and drunken, eating and drinking is 
declared to be a divine act; and this is what the Eucharist ex 
presses, though in a self-contradictory, mystical, covert manner. 
But it is our task to express the mystery of religion, openly and 
honourably, clearly and definitely. Life is God; the enjoyment of 
life is tlie enjoyment of God; true bliss in life is true religion. But 
to the enjoyment of life belongs the enjoyment of eating and 
drinking. If therefore life in general is holy, eating and drinking 
must be holy. Is this an irreligious creed 1 Let it be remembered 
that this irreligion is the analyzed, unfolded, unequivocally ex 
pressed mystery of religion itself. All the mysteries of religion 
ultimately resolve themselves, as we have shown, into the mystery 
of heavenly bliss. But heavenly bliss is nothing else than happiness 
freed from the limits of reality. The Christians have happiness for 
their object just as much as the heathens ; the only difference is, 
that the heathens place heaven on earth, the Christians place earth 
in heaven. Whatever is, whatever is really enjoyed, is finite; that 
which is not, which is believed in and hoped for, is infinite. 


The Christian religion is a contradiction. It is at once the re 
conciliation and the disunion, the unity and the opposition of God 
and man. This contradiction is personified in the God-Man. The 


unity of the Godhead and manhood is at once a truth and an untruth. 
We have already maintained that if Christ was God, if he was at 
once -man and another being conceived as incapable of suffering, 
his suffering was an illusion. For his suffering as man was no 
suffering to him as God. No ! what he acknowledged as man he 
denied as God. He suffered only outwardly, not inwardly; i. e., 
he suffered only apparently, not really ; for he was man only in 
appearance, in form, in the external ; in truth, in essence, in which 
alone he was an object to the believer, he was God. It would have 
been true suffering only if he had suffered as God also. What he did 
not experience in his nature as God, he did not experience in 
truth, in substance. And, incredible as it is, the Christians them 
selves half directly, half indirectly, admit that their highest, 
holiest mystery is only an illusion, a simulation. This simulation 
indeed lies at the foundation of the thoroughly unhistorical,* 
theatrical, illusory Gospel of John. One instance, among others, 
in which this is especially evident, is the resurrection of Lazarus, 
where the omnipotent arbiter of life and death evidently sheds 
tears only in ostentation of his manhood, and expressly says : 
" Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me, and I know that 
thou hearest me always, but for the sake of the people who stand 
round I said it, that they may believe in thee." The simulation 
thus indicated in the Gospel has been developed by the Church 
into avowed delusion. " Si credas susceptionem corporis, adjungas 
divinitatis compassionem, portionem utique perfidiae, non perfidiam 
declinasti. Credis enim, quod tibi prodesse praesumis, non credis 

quod Deo dignum est Idem enim patiebatur et non patiebatur. 

Patiebatur secundum corporis susceptionem, ut suscepti corporis 

veritas crederetur et non patiebatur secundum verbi impassibilem 

divinitatem Erat igitur immortalis in morte, impassibilis in 

passione Cur divinitati attribuis aerumnas corporis et infirmum 

doloris humanidfo;mae connectis naturae ?" Ambrosius (de incarnat. 
domin. sacr. cc. 4, 5). " Juxta hominis naturam proficiebat sapien- 

tia, non quod ipse sapientior esset ex tempore sed eandem, qua 

plenus erat, sapientiam caeteris ex tempore paulatim demonstrabat. 

In aliis.ergo non in se proficiebat sapientia et gratia." Gre- 

gorius in hornil. quadam (ap. Petrus Lomb. 1. iii. dist. 13, c. 1). 
" Proficiebat ergo huinanus sensus in eo secundum ostensionerti et 
alioruin hominum opinionem. Ita enim patrem et niatrem dicitur 
ignorasse in infantia, quia ita se gerebat et habebat ac si agnitionis 

* On this subject I refer to Littzelberger's work : "Die Kirchliclie Tradition iiber 
den Apostel Johannes und seine Schriften in ihrer Grundlosigkeit nachgewiesen," 
and to Bruno Bauer's "Kritik der Evangeliseheu Gfeschichte der Synoptiker 
und des Johannes." (B. iii.) 


expers esset" Petrus L. (ibid. c. 2.) " Ut homo ergo dubitat, ut 
homo locutus est." Ambrosius. " His verbis innui videtur, quod 
Christus non inquantum Deus vel Dei filius, sed inquantum homo 
dubitaverit affectu humane. Quod ea ratione dictum accipi potest : 
non quod ipse dubitaverit, sed quod modum gessit dubitantis et 
hominibus dubitare videbatur." Petrus L. (ibid. dist. 17, c. 2.) 
In the first part of the present work we have exhibited the truth, 
in the second part the untruth of religion, or rather of theology. 
The truth is only the identity of God and man. Religion is truth 
only when it affirms human attributes as divine, falsehood when, in 
the form of theology, it denies these attributes, separating God 
from man as a different being. Thus, in the first part we had to 
show the truth of God's suffering ; here we have the proof of its 
untruth, and not a proof which lies in our own subjective view, but 
an objective proof the admission of theology itself, that its highest 
mystery, the Passion of God, is only a deception, an illusion. It is 
therefore in the highest degree uncritical, untruthful and arbitrary, 
to explain the Christian religion, as speculative philosophy has 
done, only as the religion of reconciliation between God and man, 
and not also as the religion of disunion between the Divine and 
human nature, to find in the God-Man only the unity, and not also 
the contradiction of the divine and human nature. Christ suffered 
only as man, not as God. Capability of suffering is the sign of real 
humanity. It was not as God that he was born, that he increased 
in wisdom, and was crucified; i. e., all human conditions remained 
foreign to him as God. " Si quis non confitetur proprie et vere sub- 
stantialem differentiam naturarum post ineffabilem uiiioiiem, ex 
quibus unus et solus extitit Christus, in ea salvatam, sit con- 
demnatus." Concil. Later. I. can. 7. (Carranza.) The divine 
nature, notwithstanding the position that Christ was at once God 
and man, is just as much dissevered from the human nature in the 
Incarnation as before it, since each nature excludes the conditions 
of the other, although both are united in one personality, in an in 
comprehensible, miraculous, i. e., untrue manner, in contradiction 
with the relation in which, according to their definition, they stand 
to each other. Even the Lutherans, nay Luther himself, however 
strongly he expresses himself concerning the community and union 
of the human and divine nature in Christ, does not escape from the 
irreconcilable division between them. " God is man, and man is 
God, but thereby neither the natures nor their attributes are con 
founded, but each nature retains its essence and attributes." " The 
Son of God himself has truly suffered, and truly died, but according 
to the human nature which he had assumed ; for the divine nature 
can neither suffer nor die." " It is truly said, the Son of God 
suffers. For although the one part (so to speak), as the Godhead, 


does not suffer, still tlie Person who is God suffers in the other 
half, the manhood ; for in truth the Son of God was crucified for 
us, that is, the Person who is God; for the Person is crucified 
according to his manhood." " It is the person that does and suffers 
all, one thing according to this nature, another according to that 
nature, all which the learned well know." (Concordienb. Erklar. 
art. 8.) "The Son of God and God himself is killed and 
murdered, for God and rnan is one Person. Therefore God was 
crucified, and died, and became man; not God apart from 
humanity, but united with it ; not according to the Godhead, but 
according to the human nature which he had assumed." Luther 
(T. iii. p. 502). Thus only in the Person, i. e., only in a nomen 
proprium, not in essence, not in truth, are the two natures united. 
" Quando dicitur : Deus est homo vel homo est Deus, propositio 
ejusmodi vocatur personalis. Ratio est, quia unionem personalem 
in Christo supponit. Sine tali enim naturarum in Christo unioiie 
nunquam dicere potuissem, Deum esse hominem aut hominem esse 

Deum Abstracta autem naturae de se invicem enuntiari non 

posse, longe est manifestissimum Dicere itaque non licet, 

divina natura est humana aut deitas est humanitas et vice versa." 
J. F. Buddeus (Comp. Inst. Theol. dogm. 1. iv. c. ii. 11). Thus 
the union of the divine and human natures in the Incarnation is 
only a deception, an illusion. The old dissidence of God and man 
lies at the foundation of this dogma also, and operates all the more 
injuriously, is all the more odious, that it conceals itself behind the 
appearance, the imagination of unity. Hence Socinianism, far 
from being superficial when it denied the Trinity and the God- Man, 
was only consistent, only truthful. God was a triune being, and 
yet he was to be held purely simple, absolute unity, an ens 
simplicissimum ; thus the Unity contradicted the Trinity. God was 
God-Man, and yet the Godhead was not to be touched or annulled 
by the manhood, i. e., it was to be essentially distinct; thus the 
incompatibility of the Divine and human attributes contradicted 
the unity of the two natures. According to this, we have in the 
very idea of the God-Man the arch-enemy of the God-Man, 
rationalism, blended, however, with its opposite mysticism. Thus 
Socinianism only denied what faith itself denied, and yet, in con 
tradiction with itself, at the same time affirmed; it only denied a 
contradiction, an untruth. 

Nevertheless the Christians have celebrated the Incarnation as a 
work of love, as a self-renunciation of God, an abnegation of his 
majesty Amor triumplmt de Deo; for the love of God is an 
empty word, if it is understood as a real abolition of the distinction 
between Him and man. Thus we have, in the very central point of 
Christianity, the contradiction of Faith and Love developed in the 


close of the present work. Faith makes the suffering of God a 
mere appearance, love makes it a truth. Only 011 the truth of the 
suffering rests the true positive impression of the Incarnation. 
Strongly, then, as we have insisted on the contradiction and division 
between the divine and the human nature in the God-Man, we 
must equally insist on their community and unity, in virtue of 
which God is really man and man is really God. Here then we 
have the irrefragable and striking proof that the central point, the 
supreme object of Christianity, is nothing else than man, that Chris 
tians adore the human individual as God, and God as the human 
individual. " This man born of the Virgin Mary is God himself, 
who has created heaven and earth." Luther (T. ii. p. 671.) "I 
point to the man Christ and say : that is the son of God." (T. xix. 
p. 594.) " To give life, to have all power in heaven and earth, to 
have all things in his hands, all things put under his feet, to purify 
from sin, and so on, are divine, infinite attributes which, according 
to the declaration of the Holy Scriptures, are given and imparted 
to the man Christ." " Therefore we believe, teach, and confess 

that the Son of man now not only as God, but also as man, 

knows all things, can do all things, is present with all creatures." 
" We reject and condemn the doctrine that he (the Son of God) is 
not capable according to his human nature of omnipotence and other 
attributes of the divine nature." (Concordienb. Summar. Begr. u. 
Erklar. art. 8.) " TJnde et sponte sua fluit, Christo etiam qua 
humanam naturam spectato cultum religiosum deberi" Buddeus 
(1. c. 1. iv. c. ii. 17). The same is expressly taught by the 
Fathers and the Catholics, e. g. " Eadem adoratione adoranda in 

Christo est divinitas et humanitas Divinitas intrinsece inest 

humanitati per uuionem hypostaticam : ergo humanitas Christi seu 
Christus ut homo potest adorari absolute cultu latriae." Theol. 
Schol. (sec. Thomam Aq. P. Metzger. iv. p. 124.) It is certainly 
said, that it is not man, not flesh and blood by itself which is wor 
shipped, but the flesh united with God, so that the cultus applies 
not to the flesh, or man, but to God. But it is here as with the 
worship of saints and images. As the saint is adored in the image, 
and God in the saint, only because the image and the saint are them 
selves adored, so God is worshipped in the human body, only be 
cause the human flesh is itself worshipped. God becomes flesh, 
man, because man is in truth already God. How could it enter 
into thy mind to bring the human flesh into so close a relation and 
contact with God, if it were something impure, degrading, unworthy 
of God 1 If the value, the dignity of the human flesh does not lie 
in itself, why dost thou not make other flesh the flesh of brutes, 
the habitation of the divine spirit ? True, it is said : Man is only 
the organ, in, with and by which the Godhead works, as the soul in 


the body. But this pretext also is refuted by what has been said 
above. God chose man as his organ, his body, because only in 
man did he find an organ worthy of him, suitable, pleasing to him. 
If the nature of man is indifferent, why did not God become incar 
nate in a brute ? Thus God comes into man only out of man,. 
The manifestation of God in man is only a manifestation of the 
divinity and glory of man. " Noscitur ex alio, qui 11011 cognoscitur 
ex se" this trivial saying is applicable here. God is known through 
man, whom he honours with his personal presence and indwelling, 
and known as a human being, for what any one prefers, selects, 
loves, is his objective nature; and man is known through God, and 
known as a divine being, for only that which is worthy of God, 
which is divine, can be the object, organ and habitation of God. 
True, it is further said : it is Jesus Christ alone, and no other man, 
who is worshipped as God. But this argument also is idle and 
empty. Christ is indeed one only, but he is one who represents all. 
He is a man as we are, " our brother, and we are flesh of his flesh 
and bone of his bone." "In Jesus Christ our Lord every one of us 
is a portion of flesh and blood. Therefore where my body is, there 
I believe that I myself reign. Where my flesh is glorified, there I 
believe that I am myself glorious. Where my blood rules, there I 
hold that I myself rule." Luther (T. xvi. p. 534). This then 
is an undeniable fact : Christians worship the human individual 
as the supreme being, as God. Not indeed consciously, for it 
is the unconsciousness of this fact which constitutes the illusion of 
the religious principle. But in this sense it may be said that the 
heathens did not worship the statues of the gods ; for to them also 
the statue was not a statue, but God himself. Nevertheless they 
t^Y/ worship the statue; just as Christians worship the human indi 
vidual, though, naturally, they will not admit it. 


Man is the God of Christianity, Anthropology the Mystery of 
Christian Theology. The history of Christianity has had for its 
grand result the unveiling of this mystery the realization and 
recognition of theology as anthropology. The distinction between 
Protestantism and Catholicism the old Catholicism, which now 
exists only in books, not in actuality consists only in this, that 
the latter is Theology, the former Christology, *'. e. (religious) An 
thropology. Catholicism has a supranaturalistic, abstract God, a 
God who is other than human, a not human, a superhuman being. 
The goal of Catholic morality, likeness to God, consists therefore 
in this, to be not a man, but more than a man a heavenly 
abstract being, an angel. Only in its morality does the essence of 



a religion realize, reveal itself: morality alone is the criterion 
whether a religious dogma is felt as a truth, or is a mere chimera. 
Thus the doctrine of a superhuman, supernatural God is a truth 
only where it has as its consequence a superhuman, supernatural, or 
rather antinatural morality. Protestantism, on the contrary, has 
not a supranaturalistic but a human morality, a morality of and 
for flesh and blood; consequently its God, at least its true, real 
God, is no longer an abstract, supranaturalistic being, but a being 
of flesh and blood. " This defiance the devil hears unwillingly, 
that our flesh and blood is the Son of God, yea, God himself, and 
reigns in heaven over all." Luther (T. xvi. p. 573). " Out of 
Christ there is no God, and where Christ is, there is the whole 
Godhead." Id. (T. xix. p. 403). Catholicism has, both in theory 
and practice, a God who, in spite of the predicate of love, exists 
for himself, to whom therefore man only comes by being against 
himself, denying himself, renouncing his existence for self; Pro 
testantism, on the contrary, has a God who, at least practically, 
virtually, has not an existence for himself, but exists only for 
man, for the welfare of man. Hence in Catholicism the highest 
act of the cultus, "the mass of Christ," is a sacrifice of man, 
the same Christ, the same flesh and blood, is sacrificed to God 
in the Host as on the cross ; in Protestantism, on the contrary, 
it is a sacrifice, a gift, of God : God sacrifices himself, surrenders 
himself to be partaken by man. See Luther, e. g. (T. xx. p. 259. 
T. xvii. p. 529.) In Catholicism manhood is the property, the 
predicate of the Godhead (of Christ) God is man; in Protes 
tantism, on the contrary, Godhead is the property, the pre 
dicate of manhood (Christ) man is God. " This, in time past, 
the greatest theologians have done they have fled from the 
manhood of Christ to his Godhead, and attached themselves 
to that alone, and thought that we should not know the 
manhood of Christ. But we must so rise to the Godhead of 
Christ, and hold by it in such a way, as not to forsake the manhood 
of Christ and come to the Godhead alone. Thou shouldst know of 
no God, nor Son of God, save him who was born of the Virgin 
Mary and became man. He who receives his manhood has also 
his Godhead." Luther (T. ix. pp. 592, 598).* Or, briefly thus : in 
Catholicism, man exists for God; in Protestantism, God exists for 
man.t "Jesus Christ our Lord was conceived for us, born for 

* In another place Luther praises St. Bernard and Bonaventura, because they 
laid so much stress on the manhood of Christ. 

*t" It is true that in Catholicism also in Christianity generally, God exists for 
man ; but it was Protestantism which first drew from this relativity of God its true 
result the absoluteness of man. 


us, suffered for us, was crucified, died and was buried for us. 
Our Lord rose from the dead for our consolation, sits for our good 
at the right hand of the Almighty Father, and is to judge the living 
and the dead for our comfort. This the holy Apostles and beloved 
Fathers intended to intimate in their confession by the words : Us 
and our Lord namely, that Jesus Christ is ours, whose office and 
will it is to help us .... so that we should not read or speak the 
words coldly, and interpret them only of Christ, but of ourselves 
also." Luther (T. xvi. p. 538). " I know of no God but him 
who gave himself for me. Is not that a great thing that God is 
man, that God gives himself to man and will be his, as man gives 
himself to his wife and is hers? But if God is ours, all things are 
ours." (T. xii. p. 283.) " God cannot be a God of the dead, who 
are nothing, but is a God of the living. If God were a God of the 
dead, he would be as a husband who had no wife, or as a father 
who had no son, or as a master who had no servant. For if he is 
a husband, he must have a wife. If he is a father, he must have 
a son. If he is a master, he must have a servant. Or he would 
be a fictitious father, a fictitious master, that is, nothing. God is 
not a God like the idols of the heathens, neither is he an imaginary 
God, who exists for himself alone, and has none who call upon 
him and worship him. A God is He from whom everything 

is to be expected and received If he were God for himself 

alone in heaven, and we had no good to rely on from him, he 

would be a God of stone or straw If he sat alone in 

heaven like a clod, he would not be God." (T. xvi. p. 465.) 
" God says : I the Almighty Creator of heaven and earth am thy 
God. ... To be a God means to redeem us from all evil and 
trouble that oppresses us, as sin, hell, death, &c." (T. ii. p. 327.) 
" All the world calls that a God, in whom man trusts in need and 
danger, on whom he relies, from whom all good is to be had and 
who can help. Thus reason describes God, that he affords help to 
man, and does good to him, bestows benefits upon him. This 
thou seest also in this text : ' I am the Lord thy God, who brought 
thee out of the land of Egypt.' There we are taught what God is, 
what is his nature, and what are his attributes, namely, that he 
does good, delivers from dangers, and helps out of trouble and all 
calamities." (T. iv. pp. 236, 237.) But if God is a living, i. e., real 
God, is God in general, only in virtue of this that he is a God to 
man, a being who is useful, good, beneficent to man ; then, in truth, 
man is the criterion, the measure of God, man is the absolute, 
divine being. The proposition : A God existing only for himself is no 
God means nothing else than that God without man is not God ; 
where there is no man there is no God ; if thou takest from God the 
predicate of humanity, thou takest from him the predicate of 


deity; if his relation to man is done away with, so also is his 

Nevertheless Protestantism, at least in theory, has retained in 
the background of this human God the old supranaturalistic God. 
Protestantism is the contradiction of theoiy and practice ; it has 
emancipated the flesh, but not the reason. According to Protes 
tantism, Christianity, i. e., God, does not contradict the natural 
impulses of man : " Therefore, we ought now to know, that God 
does not condemn or abolish the natural tendency in man, which 
was implanted in Nature at the creation, but that he awakens and 
preserves it." Luther (T. iii. p. 290). But it contradicts reason 
and is therefore, theoretically, only an object of faith. We have 
shown, however, that the nature of faith, the nature of God, is 
itself nothing else than the nature of man placed out of man, con 
ceived as external to man. The reduction of the extrahuman, 
supernatural, and anti-rational nature of God to the natural, 
immanent, inborn nature of man, is therefore the liberation of 
Protestantism, of Christianity in general, from its fundamental 
contradiction, the reduction of it to its truth, the result, the 
necessary, irrepressible, irrefragable result of Christianity.